Fate of the Fines: the behavior and value of mud supplied to the ocean

Dr. Till Hanebuth, Associate Professor in the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science (CCU)
Event Location: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
SCMSS Seminar Series


River-supplied fine-grained sediments enter the coastal zone and the ocean mainly in suspension. Once these muds settle, they form major sinks for nutrients and contaminants, and serve as a cradle for benthic life. Toward permanent deposition, various environmental forcing mechanisms as well as human activities are responsible for frequent major disturbances in terms of distribution, mobilization, and retention. Even after final deposition, they remain an active component of the substrate, for instance by compaction processes. The resulting deposits thus record the history of environmental changes in exceptional sensitivity and remarkably high resolution. 

In this talk, I shall provide a tour through a variety of river deltas and mud depocenters on the continental shelf to illustrate how we can extract and read the effects of the individual environmental drivers from the sedimentary record. Following an overview on the major processes that control mud behavior, changes in sea level and continental runoff, and the role of various oceanographic/hydrodynamic components are discussed. In addition, we look at the human impact through deforestation, damming and embankment as well as offshore dredging and trawling.

Speaker Information

Dr. Till Hanebuth is an Associate Professor in the School of Coastal and Marine Systems Science at Coastal Carolina University. He received his Ph.D. in Geology-Paleontology from the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel in 2000.

More information about him and his work can be found here