IOW Logo

MSM113: MSM113 Ausfahrt

01.10.2022 - 31.03.2023
Project coordinated by:
Project manager (IOW):
Dr. Peter Feldens
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Sediment waves are the dominant bedform on the ocean floor. They are important for any seafloor infrastructure, such as

telecommunication cables, as the flows passing over can be highly destructive. Further, sediment waves play an important role in the stability of marine slopes and are of importance because of their role in deep-water petroleum plays. The hypotheses evoked for sediment wave generation are internal waves, downslope turbidity currents, along-slope currents, and at continental slopes also sediment creep. However, the mechanisms for generating these bedforms remain poorly constrained. Often an academic divide exists between the disciplines that study processes associated to ocean dynamics at and distant from the sediment water interface, resulting in a lack of across-disciplinary studies that address formation processes. Here, we present an interdisciplinary approach, including a variety of geophysical, geological, geotechnical and oceanographic methods, to study processes that lead to the formation of large fields of sediment waves at the Northwest African margin. We propose to map large areas of the Northwest African slope hosting sediment waves with hydroacoustic and seismic methods and combine these with oceanographic measurements of the water column to gain insight into the dynamics of processes that act across the water-sediment interface. Direct evidence from oceanographic moorings with pressure-, temperature-sensors and acoustic doppler current profilers will complete the interdisciplinary data set. Subsurface information from 2D and 3D seismic data and sedimentological data from sediment cores will untangle the complex interplay of ocean dynamics and surface morphology as well as evolution through time. We expect to gain new insight into the formation of sediment waves with essential findings to improve our understanding of sediment wave generation and their importance for marine infrastructure and slope stability in the marine realm.