The majority of continental margins may be classified as either siliclastic or carbonate. Despite forming some of the largest cliffs on Earth, carbonate slopes are poorly understood features, and the few studies available have been carried out in tropical settings. An improved understanding of non-tropical carbonate slopes is necessary because: (i) they comprise more than half of carbonate slopes worldwide, (ii) they are characterised by very different geological and oceanographic conditions compared to tropical carbonate slopes, (iii) their occurrence in the stratigraphic record is relatively common, (iv) they offer a unique record of past environmental conditions, and (v) they host geohazards, hydrocarbon reservoirs and potentially specialised biological communities.
The aim of SCARP is to characterise the morphology of non-tropical carbonate escarpments in unprecedented detail, investigate the nature and dynamics of canyon and landslide processes responsible for this morphology, understand their role in sediment export and non-tropical carbonate margin development, and determine whether they are significantly different from those of siliclastic and tropical carbonate margins elsewhere. SCARP will entail the integration of diverse geophysical and sedimentological data sets acquired from the Malta-Sicily Escarpment (Mediterranean Sea) and Campeche Escarpment (Gulf of Mexico) during four research cruises, and their analyses using innovative data processing, numerical and statistical techniques, and state-of-the-art sedimentological, geotechnical, and geochoronological methods.
The fellow will lead the SCARP project as a lecturer at the University of Malta, where he will bring a portfolio of scientific and technical skills and a network of international collaborations. This fellowship will be essential for the fellow to access oceanographic research infrastructure, establish a marine geology research group and become a fully independent research leader.
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