Skip to main content

The remote detection of sediment instability on the European continental margin and slope

Objective



The objective of POSEIDON is to develop and build a European capability for remotely detecting, mapping and monitoring deep-sea sediment instabilities. Such sediment instability on European continental margins is a major geological hazard which is becoming economically important as hydrocarbon exploration moves into deeper waters and cable and pipeline companies lay increasing numbers of structures on the seabed. The instruments and techniques developed in this project will be of importance to other MAST II and III projects such as ENAM, STEAM, MTP and others all of which include sediment instability studies. The project integrates the skills and techniques currently under development in a number of dispersed European laboratories, capitalising on the strengths of each. A major part of the project will be the training of young researchers, and these researchers will gain a unique insight into equipment development and the facilities available in various European countries.
The work is divided into a number of tasks - the most important of which is the development of new instruments to measure both remote and in situ seabed properties. Remote (towed) instruments will measure the 3-D acoustic structure of the seabed, and in situ instruments will measure the geotechnical and geoacoustic properties of these sediments to ground-truth the remote measurements. These instruments will then be tested at two different sites, both of which are known to be unstable, on the European continental margin and used to make maps of acoustic properties.
The data collected at the two sites will be integrated with existing data sets and modelled to determine those features of the remotely collected data which indicate instability and the likely degree of that instability. This will eventually lead to a rapid method for remotely detecting unstable sedimented slopes.
We already know that sediment instability takes many forms, producing an array of sedimentary features. To take all of these into account it will be necessary to build a database of these features and their acoustic signatures for a range of different environments. We will design such a database for the easy manipulation, cross-correlation and modelling of remote and in-situ data relating to sediment instability.
This project will therefore provide new techniques for identifying sediment instability on continental margins and will set standards for quantifying the level of instability.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
Address
Empress Dock, European Way
SO14 3ZH Southampton
United Kingdom

Participants (8)

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE
France
Address
Chemin Joseph Aiguier 31
13402 Marseille
Christian-Albrechts Universität Kiel
Germany
Address
1-3,Wischhofstraße 1-3
24148 Kiel
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Denmark
Address

2800 Lyngby
Ecole Supérieure de Chimie, Physique,Electronique de Lyon
France
Address
43,Boulevard Du 11 Novembre 1918
69616 Villeurbanne
GEOTEK LTD
United Kingdom
Address
3,Faraday Close - Nene House 3, Drayton Fields
NN11 5RD Daventry
IFREMER - INSTITUT FRANÇAIS DE RECHERCHE POUR L'EXPLOITATION DE LA MER
France
Address
Technopole Brest Iroise
29280 Plouzane
RESON A/S
Denmark
Address
Fabriksvangen 13
3550 Slangerup
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Belgium
Address
2,Pleinlaan
1050 Bruxelles