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Environmental Controls on Mound Formation along the European Continental Margin

Referentie nr.: EVK3-1999-00013
Acroniem: ECOMOUND
Periode: 1999 tot 2000
Status: Afgelopen

Thesaurustermen: Carbonate biogenic deposits; Koolwaterstoffen; Sedimenten
Geografische termen: ANE, Europa, Europees Continentaal Plat [Marine Regions]; ANE, Porcupine Seabight [Marine Regions]; ANE, Rockall Trough [Marine Regions]

Instituten (2)  Top 
  • Universiteit Gent; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Vakgroep Geologie; Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG), meer
  • European Commission; Fifth Framework Programme, meer, financier

The major objective of this proposal is to define the environmental controls and processes involved in the development and distribution of carbonate mounds on the NW European continental margin. The project will establish the relationship between carbonate mound biota and recent watermass characteristics and dynamics, as well as with sedimentological properties of the surrounding seabed. Based on growth rates of mound biota, a high-resolution record of recent short-term watermass composition and variability will be obtained based on stable isotope analyses of "well-dated" benthic carbonate skeletons. This will allow a better understanding of the effects of environmental forcing factors and their variability. Finally we aim to differentiate between carbonate mounds and mud mounds and to determine whether they are indicators for hydrocarbon resources.

ECOMOUND envisages 6 - 7 cruises to obtain high resolution spatial information in four key areas along the NW European margin. These areas are presently being explored for hydrocarbon resources. The four areas are the Porcupine Seabight (SW of Ireland), the Rockall Bank, the northern Rockall Trough (W of Scotland), and the Sula Ridge areas (offshore Norway).

A wide range of equipment will be deployed at selected sites, including landers (deep-sea observatories), sonar systems, high-resolution single and multi-channel seismic systems, cameras, sediment traps and corers. Biologists, microbiologists, geochemists and sedimentologists will form a team to identify clues of mound-forming processes related to oceanographic and environmental boundary conditions. The observations and analytical results will be used to formulate and drive a model. The model will test various hypotheses concerning how environmental processes control the presence and distribution of carbonate mounds.

ECOMOUND will strongly interact with the projects GEOMOUND and ACES, and develop ad hoc co-operative links with DEEP-BUG, COSTA and STRATAGEM. Such co-operation may form the ground for relevant clustering initiatives, in harmony with the EU strategy.

ECOMOUND may be involved a partnership with a consortium of 18 oil and gas companies active in deep-water hydrocarbon exploration and production. ECOMOUND will provide exciting training and educational opportunities for students in a domain that meets at the crossroads of Earth Sciences, Life and Energy.

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