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Content archived on 2024-04-16



The aim of this project is to study the biogeochemical cycles and fluxes in the ocean-sediment system, with special interest in the migration of elements.
Biogeochemical fluxes to the deep ocean sediments were measured. This required high quality sampling, reliable stratigraphy, and comprehensive geochemical and sedimentological analysis. The initial phase of the planned programme, an intensive field work programme, has now been completed successfully. During the past year, attention has increasingly focused on the work up of the resultant large and complicated data set. The extraordinary quantity and quality of the core material recovered, particularly from the long core sampling programme on the RV Marion Dufresne, means that this work up phase will probably need to extend for several years in order to obtain the full scientific value of the resource. The long term scientific programme has been modified to reflect the consequences of the sampling success.

The Mediterranean samples are outstanding. Data show that core material has been obtained reaching back more than a million years at one site. This is the first time that core sampling techniques have penetrated to this age in the Mediterranean, and this is a tribute to the engineering and ship capabilities of the (TAAF) (now (IFRTP)), the operators of the RV Marion Dufresne. Core material of unique importance, has been obtained, and the description of this material, and preliminary analysis of the most significant sections, are presented.
The main areas of study will be: 1. Fluxes of elements and suspended matter within the water column. 2. Elemental fluxes across the sediment-water interface and within the sediment, with particular reference to organic carbon, oxygen, nutrients and metals. 3. Modern formation of sapropels, and diagenetic alteration of the sapropel record. (Sapropel: discrete layers of dark, organic-rich sediment). 4. Formation of manganese nodules and phosphorites in abyssal hill, sea-mount and slope sediment environments. 5. Element migration and mineralisation processes in sediments as a consequence of low-temperature hydrothermal alteration. 6. The development of novel sampling and in-situ measurement instrumentation in support of the above areas of study.


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NERC Institute of Oceanographic Sciences
EU contribution
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Deacon Laboratory Brook Road Wormley
GU8 5UB Godalming
United Kingdom

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Participants (7)