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Meteor-Blog 2.August 2008: Mud volcano ahead

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At present, Meteor has reached REGAB pockmark, one of the major research areas of cruise M76/3b. The geophysician César Caparachin reports from his discovery of the first mud volcano and introduces the under water landscape of the pockmark surroundings.

Planetearth Blog

Does the biodiversity of deep-sea organisms play a role for the climate on Planet Earth? Questions all about marine research will be answered directly aboard of the German research vessel Meteor by cruise leader Prof. Antje Boetius and her crew. In cooperation with the geoportal from 17.07.08 to 24.08.08 they contribute a Science-Blog of METEOR expedition M76/3 GUINECO – MARUM research of fluid and gas seeps on the Westafrican continental margin. Technical highlight of the cruise is the remote-controlled under water robot QUEST4000 by MARUM that will be deployed for taking fauna and sediments samples and conduction of in situ experiments. Go on a dive down to places no other human being has ever seen before: explore the fascinating deep-sea fauna and watch the scientists’ work at gas and fluid seeps deep down on the ocean bottom.

Expedition M76/3b is a collaboration of MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at Bremen University and its associated institutes MPI and AWI as well as the French research institute IFREMER and the University of Paris.

More Informationen of the Meteor-Blog, an overview of all contributions to the blog and expedition M76/3B:

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2. August 2008 (Author: César Caparachin)

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Today's Meteor-Blog is contributed by:

Cesar John CaparachinHi! Maybe some of you already know me, my name is Cesar Caparachin and I´m from Peru. I have a bachelor degree in Geophysics and I this great chance to join this scientific group due to my invitation by the University of Bremen.

2. August: Bild 1

picture 1: Mud Volcanoes related to the release of gas

Mud volcano ahead

A couple of nights ago something on the seafloor caught my attention: the multibeam echosounder started to show abrupt features over a flat area as you can see in picture 1. All these features have young deformation ages which are related to the release of gas trapped in sediments underneath. As you have probably already noticed, in picture 1 there are three special features. In the middle is a pie-shaped structure surrounded by a depression. To both sides are come-shaped structures. These are mud volcanoes, which were most likely caused by eruptions of subsurface gas and muds to the seafloor.

2. August: Bild 2

picture 2: Vertical profile of a mud volcano acquired with Parasound. The sediment systems show internal deformation and strong reflections caused by free gas.

In picture 2 we can see a vertical profile of the pie-shaped structure recorded with parasound systems, which does not only tell us how big it is (1.5km width x 100m height) but also shows the subsidence around it caused by the collapse of sediments after periods of eruption. In order to see the relative location of this wonderful structures we can have a look at picture 3, in the lower middle is our current survey area (Regab Pockmark), close to it you see the Congo Canyon. At the upper left area are located the mud volcano and other young features meanwhile at the right upper corner is located the Diapir Area. The structures of the Diapir Area have a much older deformation age than the mud volcanoes but are also related to gas seepage, and some gas flares were observed there during the previous cruise. All these structures are really fascinating for me. I don’t want to talk to much, therefore let the pictures speak for themselves!

2. August: Bild 3

picture 3: Location of mud volcanoes and Diapir Area in relationship to our current survey area (Regab Pockmark).

Maybe some terminologies such as multibeam echosounder, parasound systems, pockmarks or gas flares sound quiet strange for some of you. Thus I suggest to visit my last blog from July 20th where you can find more details about all these phrases and a little more about myself J!

I hope you didn’t have too much trouble to understand my words as my English is not so good (or because I wrote it after a little party that I enjoyed last night). I send greetings to Peru. Thanks for your time and see you!



2. August: Bild 4

picture 4: Saturday night party on deck. From left to right: my dear friends Christian, Christina, Frederic and me.