CADISED Project Visit at MARUM in Germany

Continental shelves under fluvial influence commonly host locally confined mud depocenters which accumulate on the otherwise sandy and rocky shelves. The sediment successions of such depocenter contain highly valuable environmental information on past oceanographic and climatic variability: they represent the most distal marine sink for continent-derived material as well as most directly affected deposit in terms of shallow-water bottom currents.

This is the cruse logo from March 2015 on board the German research vessel POSEIDON. Credit: Pos482 CADISED.

The project CADISED focusses a number of Holocene mud depocenters in the northern Gulf of Cadiz, off southern Spain and Portugal. SCMSS faculty member, Dr. Till Hanebuth, lead a research cruise with the German vessel POSEIDON in March 2015 in these waters. The research team ran 1500 nm sediment echosounder profiles and took sediment cores at 40 stations at water depth between 20 and 250 m within a 10 day time frame. The main goal of the project is to calculate the mass of river-derived material in this region and to reconstruct the local to over-regional variability of the environmental forcing mechanisms in great temporal resolution.

Left to right, Matt Kester, Dr.Till Hanebuth and Mary Lee King just before leaving Potimao, Portugal on March 11th. Credit: Pos482 CADISED.

Starting on September 26th, SCMSS graduate student, Mary Lee King will be working at MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, Germany, for four weeks. During the first week, colleagues and friends will join her to sample all of the unopened cores from the cruise in March. For the second week, she will be cleaning and preparing carbon samples (shells that were in situ within the core sediment) for radiocarbon dating to help put an age to the sediment horizons. For the last two week she will be running XRF (x-ray fluorescence) scanning on specific cores that will determine the elemental intensities within horizons. It is desirable to correlate these analysis with other cores to follow horizons spatially across the continental shelf. This XRF data can also help to determine the source of the sediment.

MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, Germany. Credit: A. Gerdes

MARUM is one of the top centers for marine geoscientific research, comparable to WHOI in the US, NOC in the UK or IFREMER in France, with a wide range of research groups that include 450 employees, modern facilities, a giant pool of devices for ocean-related observation and sampling campaigns, and – not to forget – one of the three IODP core repositories existing worldwide.

CADISED Project Visit at MARUM in Germany Field Notes