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Home run for the RV Maria S. Merian:
Research vessel sets off towards the Baltic Sea ice
for the "Deep Baltic" mission

From February 25 to March 23, 2021, a team of physicists and geologists from Warnemünde, Kiel and Szczecin will be underway in the northern Baltic Sea to investigate the dynamics of winterly deep water circulation. Besides recording the current hydrodynamic conditions near and under the sea ice of the Gulf of Bothnia, the program includes sedimentological and geophysical studies to investigate sediment erosion and deposition characteristics induced by deep-water movement. A further aim is to reconstruct the history of deep water circulation in the northern Baltic Sea during Holocene climate variations recorded in older sediments.

Press release at the expedition start, February 17, 2021

Logo of the Deep Baltic Mission

23.03.2021 – Back on land

The scientific team

MSM99 is history

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18.03.2021 – Night owls on board: Looking into the Depth


With echo sounders we can "look" into the seafloor.

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16.03.2021 – Eye to eye with a living "oxygen indicator"


At the bottom of the ice-free Bothnian Sea we find clear signs of sufficient oxygen.

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14.03.2021 – And what happens during the rest of the year?

Anker stone

In the Bothnian Sea we set up a small one-year permanent measuring station to record the deep water processes in the course of one year.

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13.03.2021 – Night owls on board: tireless CTD drivers


Working in shifts, oceanographers monitor temperature, salinity and oxygen values in the water beneath the ice at night.

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13.03.2021 – Sea ice impressions of a scientific assistant

brine probe

How students from Kiel University support the mission.

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11.03.2021 – Biomarkers: contemporary witnesses of past climates


Biomarkers may help to reconstruct past sea ice conditions in the Baltic Sea.

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09.03.2021 – Are we alone here?

Grey seal sighting

"Social distancing" with icebreakers and seals

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09.03.2021 – The microstructure probe on the ice

MSS ice station

About drilling ice holes and cold-sensitive cables.

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05.03.2021 – We leave the past and its sediments
and get to the water

Gettting the microstructure probe ready.

Physical oceanographers get the microstructure probe ready. 

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01.-04.03.2021 – In search of the “Little Ice Age”

Recovering of 6-meter core.

The climate of the Little Ice Age could theoretically have triggered winter convection with ventilation of the deep water in the Gotland Basin. We look for gaps in the sedimentary sequences in question that could prove this. 

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27.02.2021 – Bornholm Basin: Close to the end of the last ice age

Using the multicorer.

In the Bornholm Basin the witnesses of the end of the last ice age lie partly very shallow under the seafloor. We take a close look at what layers lie above. 

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26.02.2021 – In the Arkona Basin

The first cores are being sampled.

In the first Baltic Sea basin east of the Darss Sill, which significantly affects the water exchange between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, the distinctive features of the latter become increasingly apparent: salinity stratification and oxygen deficiency at the bottom. Here, the expedition's first measuring and sampling takes place. » more

25.02.2021 – Departure: From the North Sea into the Baltic Sea

The Merian on the Ems

On the way from Emden to the Baltic Sea, we pass very many wind turbines. The first day at sea is also a time to practise safety precautions.

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24.02.2021 – It's time to go on board!

The Merian still lies on the quay

18 scientists from Kiel and Warnemünde have finished the corona-related isolation before the start of the expedition and are preparing for MSM99 "Deep Baltic".

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Expedition: MSM99
Mission: Deep Baltic
Start: 25.02.2021 - Emden
Destination: 23.03.2021 - Emden


Maria S. Merian: current position


Research Vessel Maria S. Merian