Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute are back from an expedition to the Labrador Sea

22.07.2009
Indications for volcanic eruptions in the younger geological history found

Scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute have researched the geology of the seabed in the Labrador Sea on board of the research vessel Maria S. Merian.

They have studied the so-called Eirik Drift at the southern tip of Greenland, a structure of several hundred kilometres length formed like a ridge. They discovered a submarine mountain (seamount) at the south-western fringe of their area of investigation that indicates volcanic eruptions during the past few million years.

The Eirik Drift rises 2,500 m above the surrounding seabed at the southern tip of Greenland. Sediments have been depositing there for the last ten million years, forming a ridge-like structure. These sediments are ablated by ocean currents in the Greenland Sea and deposited in the Labrador Sea. This is also known to be the case with sand displacements caused by ocean currents, for example on Sylt. Caused by changing climate - the transition from warmer times to our current climate - the current drifted and changed its strength. Additionally, icebergs transport rock material from Greenland onto the seabed. Glaciers planed it off the island, and on breaking apart into icebergs, deposited it all over the ocean. Caused by the constantly expanding and melting ice surface during the geological cycles of glacials and interglacials, this material finds its way into the Eirik Drift, too.

Therefore, the Eirik Drift is an archive for the activity of Greenland's western boundary current and the dynamics of Greenland ice cover. Climate changes and current shifts of the last ten million years can be examined here. First results show that the drift shifted strongly to the North and the West. This event took place about 5.6 million years ago. A sediment drift can be observed for the period prior to that, but velocity and path of the current changed strongly. Researchers will be able to further analyse these data by means of computer models in order to describe these changes in more detail.

The researchers discovered something unexpected during the seismic investigation using a recording cable of 3.000 m length: "Surprisingly, an unknown elevation appeared on the images of the subsurface in the western area of the Eirik Drift, which almost breaks through the sediments to the top of the seabed at two places," reports chief scientist Dr Gabriele Uenzelmann-Neben from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association. "The sedimentary layers are disturbed," the geophysicist continues. This elevation at the seabed, called Mount Maria S. Merian by the researchers, is about 1.500 m high - approximately as high as the Feldberg in the Black Forest. The seamount was formed by volcanism which pushed sediments upwards. Even the youngest sediment packages are affected by this movement.

It can therefore be concluded that this is a young event have occurred during the last few million years. This result changes the picture of the geological development of the outer part of the Labrador Sea. So far it was assumed that the formation of the seafloor in the Labrador Sea (tectonic activity) ended about 45 million years ago. The discovery of the seamount indicates that the seabed at the exit of the Labrador Sea changed in more recent times. A distinct changing seabed has an enormous impact on the circulation paths of deepwater, which maintains ocean currents like the Gulf Stream.

The expedition of RV Maria S. Merian, operated by the Leitstelle Merian/Meteor of the University of Hamburg, began June 17th 2009 in Reykjavik where it also ended July 13th.

Further information on this research project: http://www.awi.de/en/research/research_divisions/geosciences/geophysics/

projects/marine_geophysics_arctic/eirik_drift/?0=

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and provides international science with important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 16 research centres within the Helmholtz Association, Germany's largest scientific organization.

Margarete Pauls | idw
Further information:
http://www.awi.de/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>