DynaMOD: An oceanographic and sediment DYNAmic MODelling study of MOunded contourite Drifts

01 January 2019 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Marine geoscience
    • Stratigraphy
    • Seismology and seismic exploration
    • Physical oceanography
Project description

One of the current challenges in sedimentological research is to understand how present-day
oceanographic processes affect long-term seabed geological processes. In this project, we will focus
on the increase of bottom current intensity in the presence of a seabed with a complex topography
such as cold-water coral mounds. Previous investigations along the eastern slope of the Porcupine
Seabight (off Ireland) have indicated a sufficiently small area having the potential to become a
unique natural laboratory to investigate this present and past sediment dynamic variability. Here,
bottom currents are generated by internal waves associated to Mediterranean Outflow Water.
Firstly, we aim to understand and quantify the temporal and spatial variability of the present-day
hydrodynamic regime. Secondly, through an acoustic dissection of the subseafloor, we aim to obtain
a pseudo-3D view of the contourite drift, formed due to the action of bottom currents. This will
enable the reconstruction of the architectural evolution during the past 2 million years. Based upon
these present and past observations, 3D numerical modelling will simulate the past
palaeohydrodynamic variability to better understand the oceanographic drivers behind the
contourite drift construction. For this purpose, we will apply an integrated approach built upon a
large legacy dataset using seismic profiling, as well as very-high resolution observations using
oceanographic moorings and AUV and ROV technologies.