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Bremen, Germany

Van Rooij D.,Ghent University | Blamart D.,French Climate and Environment Sciences Laboratory | De Mol L.,Ghent University | Mienis F.,Netherlands Institute for Sea Research | And 18 more authors.
Marine Geology | Year: 2011

Here we present a case study of three cold-water coral mounds in a juvenile growth stage on top of the Pen Duick Escarpment in the Gulf of Cadiz; Alpha, Beta and Gamma mounds. Although cold-water corals are a common feature on the adjacent cliffs, mud volcanoes and open slope, no actual living cold-water coral has been observed. This multidisciplinary and integrated study comprises geophysical, sedimentological and (bio)geochemical data and aims to present a holistic view on the interaction of both environmental and geological drivers in cold-water coral mound development in the Gulf of Cadiz. Coring data evidences (past or present) methane seepage near the Pen Duick Escarpment. Several sources and pathways are proposed, among which a stratigraphic migration through uplifted Miocene series underneath the escarpment. The dominant morphology of the escarpment has influenced the local hydrodynamics within the course of the Pliocene, as documented by the emplacement of a sediment drift. Predominantly during post-Middle Pleistocene glacial episodes, favourable conditions were present for mound growth. An additional advantage for mound formation near the top of Pen Duick Escarpment is presented by seepage-related carbonate crusts which might have offered a suitable substrate for coral settling. The spatially and temporally variable character and burial stage of the observed open reef frameworks, formed by cold-water coral rubble, provides a possible model for the transition from cold-water coral reef patches towards juvenile mound. These rubble "graveyards" not only act as sediment trap but also as micro-habitat for a wide range of organisms. The presence of a fluctuating Sulphate-Methane Transition Zone has an important effect on early diagenetic processes, affecting both geochemical and physical characteristics, transforming the buried reef into a solid mound. Nevertheless, the responsible seepage fluxes seem to be locally variable. As such, the origin and evolution of the cold-water coral mounds on top of the Pen Duick Escarpment is, probably more than any other NE Atlantic cold-water coral mound province, located on the crossroads of environmental (hydrodynamic) and geological (seepage) pathways. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source


Harders R.,University of Kiel | Kutterolf S.,University of Kiel | Hensen C.,University of Kiel | Moerz T.,MARUM | Brueckmann W.,University of Kiel
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems | Year: 2010

Submarine slope failures occur at all continental margins, but the processes generating different mass wasting phenomena remain poorly understood. Multibeam bathymetry mapping of the Middle America Trench reveals numerous continental slope failures of different dimensions and origin. For example, large rotational slumps have been interpreted to be caused by slope collapse in the wake of subducting seamounts. In contrast, the mechanisms generating translational slides have not yet been described. Lithology, shear strength measurements, density, and pore water alkalinity from a sediment core across a slide plane indicate that a few centimeters thick intercalated volcanic tephra layer marks the detachment surface. The ash layer can be correlated to the San Antonio tephra, emplaced by the 6000 year old caldera-forming eruption from Masaya-Caldera, Nicaragua. The distal deposits of this eruption are widespread along the continental slope and ocean plate offshore Nicaragua. Grain size measurements permit us to estimate the reconstruction of the original ash layer thickness at the investigated slide. Direct shear test experiments on Middle American ashes show a high volume reduction during shearing. This indicates that marine tephra layers have the highest hydraulic conductivity of the different types of slope sediment, enabling significant volume reduction to take place under undrained conditions. This makes ash layers mechanically distinct within slope sediment sequences. Here we propose a mechanism by which ash layers may become weak planes that promote translational sliding. The mechanism implies that ground shaking by large earthquakes induces rearrangement of ash shards causing their compaction (volume reduction) and produces a rapid accumulation of water in the upper part of the layer that is capped by impermeable clay. The water-rich veneer abruptly reduces shear strength, creating a detachment plane for translational sliding. Tephra layers might act as slide detachment planes at convergent margins of subducting zones, at submarine slopes of volcanic islands, and at submerged volcano slopes in lakes. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union. Source


Weinkauf M.F.G.,University of Tubingen | Moller T.,University of Tubingen | Koch M.C.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Kucera M.,MARUM
Biogeosciences | Year: 2013

Planktonic Foraminifera are important marine calcifiers, and the ongoing change in the oceanic carbon system makes it essential to understand the influence of environmental factors on the biomineralization of their shells. The amount of calcite deposited by planktonic Foraminifera during calcification has been hypothesized to reflect a range of environmental factors. However, it has never been assessed whether their calcification only passively responds to the conditions of the ambient seawater or whether it reflects changes in resource allocation due to physiological stress. To disentangle these two end-member scenarios, an experiment is required where the two processes are separated. A natural analogue to such an experiment occurred during the deposition of the Mediterranean sapropels, where large changes in surface water composition and stratification at the onset of the sapropel deposition were decoupled from local extinctions of planktonic Foraminifera species. We took advantage of this natural experiment and investigated the reaction of calcification intensity, expressed as mean area density (MAD), of four species of planktonic Foraminifera to changing conditions during the onset of Sapropel S5 (126-121 ka) in a sediment core from the Levantine Basin. We observed a significant relationship between MAD and surface water properties, as reflected by stable isotopes in the calcite of Foraminifera shells, but we failed to observe any reaction of calcification intensity on ecological stress during times of decreasing abundance culminating in local extinction. The reaction of calcification intensity to surface water perturbation at the onset of the sapropel was observed only in surface-dwelling species, but all species calcified more strongly prior to the sapropel deposition and less strongly within the sapropel than at similar conditions during the present-day. These results indicate that the high-salinity environment of the glacial Mediterranean Sea prior to sapropel deposition induced a∼more intense calcification, whereas the freshwater injection to the surface waters associated with sapropel deposition inhibited calcification. The results are robust to changes in carbonate preservation and collectively imply that changes in normalized shell weight in planktonic Foraminifera should reflect mainly abiotic forcing. 2013 Author(s). Source


Waldman C.,MARUM | Del Rio J.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | Toma D.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | O'Reilly T.,MBARI | Pearlman J.,IEEE France Section
2014 IEEE Sensor Systems for a Changing Ocean, SSCO 2014 | Year: 2014

The complexity of installations in the oceans to carry out observations on specific processes and for detecting long-term trends have grown significantly in the past years. This applies also to the type and number of sensors that are in use in observing systems. In these days, sensors shall be compatible to different platforms that are in use like floats, gliders or moorings, and accordingly also different data acquisition systems. Facilitating the integration process in existing or newly established observing systems comes with a real benefit for the operators and is important for the broader application of different sensors. However, how to achieve the goals is under debate. The most serious obstacle for all initiatives is the willingness of stakeholders to adopt a strategy and, even more so, to adopt a specific architecture to enable interoperability across platforms and observing systems. Therefore, the situation at this point in time is characterized by the fact that parallel approaches have been developed (IEEE 1451, the OGC set of standards, etc.) that are ready to be evaluated but still lacking the support by the community. Therefore it seems to be a good time to consider and to agree on the implementation of interoperability arrangements. These and related aspects shall be discussed in this paper. © 2014 IEEE. Source


Friedrich O.,University of Heidelberg | Norris R.D.,University of California at San Diego | Wilson P.A.,UK National Oceanography Center | Opdyke B.N.,Australian National University | And 20 more authors.
Scientific Drilling | Year: 2015

This workshop brought together specialists from various fields to develop a drilling proposal to fill the "Oligo-Miocene Gap" that exists in our understanding of the functions of Earth's systems. We propose to establish the first continuous high-deposition record of the Oligo-Miocene through new International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) drilling in the North Atlantic to allow the development of a continuous Neogene cyclostratigraphy and to enhance our knowledge of Oligo-Miocene ocean-ice-climate dynamics. The workshop was held in Heidelberg from 15 to 17 September 2014 funded by ESF (EARTHTIME EU), NSF, and the ECORD MagellanPlus Workshop Series Program. A total of 24 participants from six different countries (Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States) attended the workshop, including several early career stage researchers. We discussed certain aspects of Cenozoic paleoceanography and paleoclimate and how the gaps in the Oligo-Miocene could be filled using scientific drilling. The ultimate goal of the workshop (to submit a pre-proposal to IODP) was achieved (IODP Proposal 874-pre was submitted 1 October 2014). Our workshop consisted of overview presentations followed by self-selected breakout groups that discussed different topics and produced text and figures for the proposal. Here, we give a short overview of the major topics discussed during the workshop and the scientific goals presented in the resulting IODP pre-proposal. © Author(s) 2015. Source

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