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GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Country: Germany
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139 Projects, page 1 of 28
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 221840
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 274433
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 272260
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 948797
    Overall Budget: 1,500,000 EURFunder Contribution: 1,500,000 EUR

    The geological record shows that volcanic flank collapses and their associated tsunamis are among the largest and most disastrous natural processes on Earth, because of the huge energies involved. The potential impact of such rare but devastating natural disasters is largely ignored by society, leaving us totally unprepared even to detect the precursors of impending catastrophe. Geodetic monitoring documents gradual (cm/yr) down-sliding of individual flanks at many volcanoes worldwide. Such movements express structural instability, and the majority of volcanoes exhibiting slow flank sliding today have experienced flank collapses in the geological past. There is mounting evidence that such collapses were preceded by slow sliding, leading to the hypothesis that gradual flank movement at some point transitions into collapse. This link, however, lacks a physical explanation, and so identifying which slow-sliding precursors might indicate imminent collapse (and therefore what indicators might be used for hazard mitigation measures) is presently impossible. There appear to be two testable mechanisms by which slow sliding could turn into collapse: (i) it results from decrease in the flank’s shearing resistance, or (ii) enhanced activity in the magma system leads to a run-away feedback situation between sliding and depressurization. PRE-COLLAPSE will test these mechanisms on four volcanoes (Anak-Krakatau, Ritter, Etna, Kilauea) by employing advanced computer models capable of simulating both flank sliding and its interaction with the magma system, incorporating rock mechanical behaviours at shear velocities matching those of slowly sliding flanks, and detailed shoreline-crossing interior structures of the volcanoes based on observational data. The outcome will revolutionize how we assess volcanic flank collapse risk, a Gaussian improbability but a societal catastrophe. It will enable us to develop monitoring strategies to detect precursory signals to catastrophic collapse.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 695094
    Overall Budget: 2,499,990 EURFunder Contribution: 2,499,990 EUR

    The productivity of the ocean is limited by the transport of nutrient-rich deep waters to the sun-lit surface layer. In large parts of the global ocean this transport is blocked by a temperature-induced density gradient, with warm light waters residing on top of heavier cold waters. These regions, which are referred to by scientists as ocean deserts, are presently expanding due to surface-ocean warming. Enhancing the upward transport of nutrient-rich deep waters through artificial upwelling can break this blockade and make these waters more productive. Forced upwelling of deep-ocean water has been proposed as a means to serve three distinctly different purposes: (1) to fuel marine primary production for ecosystem-based fish farming; (2) to enhance the ocean’s biological carbon pump to sequester CO2 in the deep ocean; (3) to utilize the surface to deep-ocean temperature gradient to generate renewable energy via Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). Whereas theoretical and technical aspects of applying artificial upwelling for these purposes have been studied to some extent, the ecological responses and biogeochemical consequences are poorly understood. Ocean artUp therefore aims to study the feasibility, effectiveness, associated risks and potential side effects of artificial upwelling in increasing ocean productivity, raising fish production, and enhancing oceanic CO2 sequestration. This will be addressed through a combination of experiments at different scales and trophic complexities, field observations of eddy-induced upwelling in oligotrophic waters, and ecosystem-biogeochemical modelling of pelagic systems fertilized by nutrient-rich deep waters. If technically feasible, ecologically acceptable, and economically viable, the use of artificial upwelling for ecosystem-based fish farming could make an important contribution to an ecologically sustainable marine aquaculture.

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