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Dr. Walter Menapace

Assoziiertes Wissenschaftliches Personal


+49 421 218-65812



MARUM I, 2120

Walter Menapace

Research Interests

The Philosopher's Stone of my research is to unravel subduction zones dynamics, particularly fluid and solid cycling and earthquakes occurrence, not only to shed some light on these complex environments, but also to provide the society with a better characterization of the multiple hazards which could generate from the subduction process (i.e. seismic activity, landslides, fluid expulsion, tsunamis, etc).

Main topic of my PostDoc project was the deep-rooted serpentinite mud volcanism of the Mariana Forearc, which I was developing following my participation to IODP 366 (Mariana Convergent Margin and South Chamorro Seamount).

The PhD project I was involved in was part of a cross-cutting project (CCP4) between two of the three MARUM´s research areas, geosphere-biosphere interaction (GB) and seafloor dynamics (SD) and it was focussed on the study of mud volcanoes (MVs) and their products. The main objectives were to investigate the interactions between geological, physical and geochemical processes in and around MVs by using complementary methods such as measuring ongoing changes with in-situ instruments (p-T monitoring), determining the physical properties in the laboratory and modelling these processes using different software. The final purpose was to define what causes the episodicity in MV evolution, what is the role of these features in subduction zones fluid/mass balance and their relationship with earthquakes.  

To study the products of mud volcanism (gas, water and sediments) and compare the characteristics of different features, three case studies were being considered (Anaximander Mountains, Azerbaijan and Kumano Basin). At the same time two experimental setups have been built, with which it was possible to observe and document temporal changes in heat flow, fluid flow and chemical diffusion in the tested mud breccias.
With the support of the  Marine Geotechnics group I took part to several expeditions in different key areas of the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (MSM35T, M112/2, POS498, SO251-2), which aimed to look into MVs and (fluid/heat) flow dynamics in those regions using state of the art techniques. I also coordinated the deployment and retrieval of long-term seafloor observatories.

Research Topics

  • Mud Volcanoes and their products (sediment, gas and water)
  • Pore water geochemistry and sediments physical properties
  • Laboratory experiments (uniaxial consolidation, hydraulic seepage, permeability, rheology) on marine sediment samples
  • MVs triggers (earthquakes vs pressure buildup)
  • In situ long-term observatories (pore pressure, temperature)
  • MVs in the subduction zone fluid and solid cycles
  • Serpentinite mud volcanism
  • Fluid seepage at the seafloor


Past Topic Upcoming Topic
MSM35T (03/2014) Athina Mud Volcano (Turkey) long-term observatories deployment  SO292/2 (06/2022) Mariana forearc mud volcanism and long-term monitoring
M112/2 (11/2014 – 12/2014) Dynamic of Mud Volcanoes and Seeps in the Calabrian Accretionary Prism, Ionian Sea    
POS498 (04/2016 – 05/2016) Recovery of observatories at the Athina Mud Volcano and heat flow measurements    
SO251/2 (10/2016) Mud volcanoes of the Kumano Basin (Japan) and observatories recovery    
IODP 366 (12/2016-02/2017) Mariana Convergent Margin & South Chamorro Seamount    
M149 (07/2018 - 08/2018) Gulf of Cá­diz and Alboran Sea - Monitoring mud volcanoes and faults    
INSIGHT-Leg2/2 (10/2019) Seismic surveys in the Gulf of Cá­diz    
M167 (10/2020) Recovery of observatories in the Gulf of Cadiz    

Curriculum Vitae


Researcher in the EU Marine Robots project


PostDoc at MARUM - DFG Priority Programme IODP
 2014-2017 PhD student at MARUM-University of Bremen in the Marine Geotechnics group
 2012-2013 Erasmus Student at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the Hydrogeological Modeling group
 2011 Double Degree Project at the University of Cádiz (Spain) in Integrated Coastal Management
 2011-2013  MSc in Geology and Georesources at the University of Ferrara (Italy)
 2007-2010  BSc in Geology at the University of Padova (Italy)


ResearchGate Profile

Xu, S., Menapace, W., Hüpers, A., & Kopf, A. (2021). Mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz as a manifestation of tectonic processes and deep-seated fluid mobilization. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 105188.

Fryer, P., Wheat, C. G., Williams, T., and the IODP366 participants (2020). Mariana serpentinite mud volcanism exhumes subducted seamount materials: implications for the origin of life. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.

Menapace, W., Tangunan, D., Maas, M., Williams, T., & Kopf, A. (2019). Rheology and biostratigraphy of the Mariana serpentine muds unravel mud volcano evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

Fryer, P., Wheat, C.G., Williams, T., and the Expedition 366 Scientists (2018). Mariana Convergent Margin and South Chamorro Seamount. Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, 366: College Station, TX (International Ocean Discovery Program).

Menapace, W., Kopf, A., Zabel, M., de Beer, D. (2017). Mud volcanoes as dynamic sedimentary phenomena that host marine ecosystems. In Life at Vents and Seeps, J. Kallmeyer (Ed.): De Gruyter

Menapace, W., Völker, D., Sahling, H., Zoellner, C., dos Santos Ferreira, C., Bohrmann, G., & Kopf, A. (2017). Long-term in situ observations at the Athina mud volcano, Eastern Mediterranean: Taking the pulse of mud volcanism. Tectonophysics.

Menapace, W., Völker, D., Kaul, N., Tryon, M. D., & Kopf, A. J. (2017). The role of mud volcanism and deep‐seated dewatering processes in the Nankai Trough accretionary prism and Kumano Basin, Japan. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

Benavente, J., Del Río, L., Plomaritis, T. A. & Menapace, W. (2013). Impact of coastal storm in a sandy barrier (Sancti Petri, Spain). In: Conley, D.C., Masselink, G., Russell, P.E. & O’Hare, T.J. (eds.). Proceedings of the 12th International Coastal Symposium (Plymouth, England), Journal of Coastal Research, 65, 666-671.