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European North Atlantic Margin : Quantification and Modelling of Large-Scale Sedimentary Processes and Fluxes

Objective



The overall objectives of the ENAM 11 project are to quantify large-scale sedimentary processes and to assess their relation to the variability of oceanic and cryospheric processes. Even though large research efforts have been devoted to deciphering the sedimentary processes moulding the margins, the timing, causes and flow behaviour of these large-scale events are still largely unknown. Physical properties of sediments prone to sliding and slumping are also poorly known as are relationships between rapid changes in sedimentation, pore pressures or the destabilisation of gashydrates. These changes must be understood in order to generate reliable models for large-scale sedimentary processes, in particular mass wasting and deep-sea fan developments. Both mass wasting and deep-sea fan developments should be investigated in relation to the variability of oceanic and cryospheric processes to obtain and to determine the frequencies and possible relationships of individual events. Progress in resolving these major issues can only be achieved through the examination of high-resolution sedimentary records preserved in continental margin sediments. We therefore propose to quantify and model the sedimentary processes and material fluxes along sectors from the Norwegian (glaciated) Margin to the Celtic Sea (nonglaciated) Margin in transects running from the shelf edge to the continental slope and finally to the deep-sea. The designation of key geographic areas on the slope and the retrieval of appropriate samples are important for determining the high-resolution variability of the complex sedimentary system for Quaternary times. Areas of rapid sedimentation on the slope, which are sometimes prone to slope failure, enable evaluation of when and how rapidly ice sheet and associated hydrographic changes relate to adjacent continental slope instabilities and deep-sea fan build-ups. Although there is abundant evidence that significant natural variations in the ocean system have occurred on time scales of oceanic and cryospheric processes, the timing of large-scale sedimentary processes which may result from these variations are still largely unknown. Our primary objectives are therefore: (1)Quantification of large-scale sedimentary processes in Northeastern Atlantic Margin development and establishment of magnitudes of sediment fluxes from the shelf edge to the slope and deep-sea in glaciated and nonglaciated areas. (2)Determination of frequencies of mass wasting events and controls on the formation of deep-sea fans, and causes of instabilities including the wide range of physical and chemical processes contributing to the slope instability potential on margins.
(3) Determination of late Quaternary oceanographic conditions with a focus meltwater events governing the sediment fluxes and the relationship between cryospheric, oceanographic and sedimentary processes.
(4) Numerical modelling of rates of sediment delivery to the continental shelf edge by ice sheets and of the gravity mass wasting of this material on the continental slope.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Christian-Albrechts Universität Kiel
Address
Wischhofstraße 1-3
24148 Kiel
Germany

Participants (13)

GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF DENMARK AND GREENLAND
Denmark
Address
8,Oester Voldgade 10
1350 Koebenhavn K/copenhaegen
IFREMER - INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE RECHERCHE POUR L'EXPLOITATION DE LA MER
France
Address
Technopole Brest Iroise
29280 Plouzane
INTERNATIONAL MARINE DREDGING CONSULTA
Belgium
Address
37 45,Wilrijkstraat
2140 Borgerhout Antwerpen
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
United Kingdom
Address
Empress Dock, European Way
SO14 3ZH Southampton
NETHERLANDS INSTITUTE FOR SEA RESEARCH
Netherlands
Address
Landsdiep 4
1790 AB Den Burg
Natural Environment Research Council
United Kingdom
Address
West Mains Road
EH9 3LA Edinburgh
UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN
Norway
Address
41,Allégaten 41
5007 Bergen
UNIVERSITY OF OSLO
Norway
Address
1,Sem Saelandsvei 1
0316 Oslo
Universiteit Gent
Belgium
Address
281,Krijgslaan
9000 Gent
University College Cork
Ireland
Address
College Road
30 Cork
University of Göteborg
Sweden
Address

413 81 Göteborg
University of Tromsø
Norway
Address
201,Dramsveien
9037 Tromsø
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
United Kingdom
Address

SY23 3DB Aberystwyth