The EUROFLEETS scientific expedition season is coming to an end. Following the great success of their predecessors, it’s now time for HYDEE OBS, VISIT, OASIS and ERODOTO funded campaigns to take place.
The overarching motivation of HYDEE OBS is to move towards much-improved estimations of gas and gas hydrate distribution and concentration in a typical active subduction margin. Estimates of the global gas hydrate reservoir vary widely as do geophysics-based estimations of hydrate saturation at local-scale gas hydrate reservoirs. The campaign will take place in March 2023 on board the RV Tangaroa.
Also on board the RV Tangaroa, in April, the VISIT campaign will take place. The aim of this cruise is to test whether along-strike changes in the thickness, composition or physical properties of the Eocene-Pliocene pelagic sediments on the incoming Pacific plate are responsible for the sharp, along-strike differences in interseismic coupling and seismic behaviour observed along the Hikurangi margin and whether similar changes in sediment properties could be responsible for controlling seismic behaviour at other subduction zones.
OASIS takes place at the SE Alboran Sea (March-April), on board RV Pelagia, and makes use of the ROV Max Rover. The cruise proposes to re-visit the unique pristine Cabliers Cold Water Coral reefs, with the following specific objectives: (1) Assess the real extent of the living Cabliers Cold Water Coral (CWC) reefs, quantify their biodiversity and groundtruth the exceptional (bio)morphologic features evident on the available fine-scale maps; (2)Quantify, across multiple spatial scales, the oceanographic and hydrodynamic processes maintaining the northern Cabliers reefs in thriving conditions and evaluate the retroactive mechanisms with the small-scale seafloor complexity, being these processes responsible for CWC functioning; and (3) Apply and test the efficiency of smart automatic survey strategies on the reefs, contributing to define new management procedures for deep-sea ecosystems.
The final campaign ERODOTO will take place in June on board of RV Aegaeo. ERODOTO aims to gain a clear understanding of the mass wasting and erosive processes that regulate the headwalls retreat in the direction of the coast, happening today, in canyon headwalls and thus assess their potential geohazards to coastal areas and infrastructures. ERODOTO proposes an innovative integrated methodological approach to analyse and quantify the active dynamics of a shelf-incising, close-to-shore submarine canyon in order to set a model for geohazards assessment and risk management.
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