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Tidally driven dispersion of a deep-sea sediment plume originating from seafloor disturbance in the DISCOL Area (SE-Pacific Ocean)
Baeye, M.; Purkiani, K.; de Stigter, H.; Gillard, B.; Fettweis, M.; Greinert, J. (2022). Tidally driven dispersion of a deep-sea sediment plume originating from seafloor disturbance in the DISCOL Area (SE-Pacific Ocean). Geosciences 12(1): 8. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/geosciences12010008
In: Geosciences. MDPI: Switzerland. ISSN 2076-3263; e-ISSN 2076-3263
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine/Coastal
Author keywords
    deep-sea; suspended particulate matter; sediment plume; DISCOL area; anthropogenic impact; in situ sensors; sediment transport model

Authors  Top 
  • Baeye, M.
  • Purkiani, K.
  • de Stigter, H.
  • Gillard, B.
  • Fettweis, M.
  • Greinert, J.

Abstract
    The purpose of the study was to measure in situ the background suspended particulate matter concentration (SPMC) in the DISCOL area (SE Pacific) and its increase due to mechanical mobilization of the seabed. The disturbance experiment imitated future manganese nodule exploitations and was designed to measure the sediment plume generated by such activities. In the direct vicinity of the disturbance, landers equipped with acoustic and optical sensors measured the current velocities and the SPMC. The SPMC at the disturbance was easily up to 10 mg/L and thus about 200 times higher than the background concentration. The downstream sediment plume, measured by the lander, had a SPMC of about 1 mg/L. After tide reversal, the sediment plume was recorded a second time. A sediment transport model reproduced the plume dispersion. After rapid settling of the coarser fraction, a plume of hardly settling fine particles remained in suspension (and no deposition–resuspension cycles). The transport was controlled by the tides and by the vertical velocity component that resulted from bathymetrical differences. The plume may continue to disperse up to 100+ days (up to hundreds of km) depending on the particle size and until background concentration is reached

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