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RV Maria S. Merian - Expedition MSM109

6 July - 3 August 2022

Tromso/Norway - Reykjavik/Iceland

Logo Cruise MSM109

As part of the research unit "The Ocean Floor as Reactor" of the Bremen Cluster of Excellence "The Ocean Floor – Earth’s Uncharted Interface" we plan to use RV MARIA S. MERIAN cruise MSM109 to investigate hydrothermal fields of the Knipovich Ridge and Molloy Ridge in the Norwegian Greenland Sea west of Svalbard. In contrast to other spreading ridges in the European Northern Sea and the Arctic, these more than 500 km long segments of ultraslow oceanic spreading have hardly been investigated and active hydrothermal fields on the seabed are not yet known. Previous geological investigations and more recent multi-beam echosounder measurements during MSM57 and MSM68 along the Knipovich Ridge show a clear segmentation in the occurrence of igneous rocks that alternate with sediment-covered sections on the seabed. Based on indications of hydrothermal plumes in the water column, on registered earthquakes, and on detailed multi-beam data, we have selected 5 detailed areas, of which we want to investigate 4 regions more in detail depending on the ice conditions. After having identified plumes during dives with the AUV MARUM-SEAL and in the course of CTD stations, detailed investigations and samplings will be carried out with ROV MARUM-QUEST4000.

The main objective is to find new hydrothermal vent fields associated either to peridotite-hosted environments, to basalt-hosted axial volcanic ridges, or to single volcanic structures. Very little is known about hydrothermal vents along ultra-slow spreading ridges and our investigations, sampling and further analyzes in the Cluster of Excellence will lead to a better understanding of the exchange of material between the oceanic crust and the ocean. Documentation and sampling of fluids, rocks and hydrothermal precipitates will give answers to various questions: What is the spatial density of hydrothermal vents and what controls their distribution? How diverse are the hydrothermal fluids, and what are the volcanic and faulting controls of this diversity? How are metals transformed within the rising and neutrally buoyant parts of hydrothermal plumes, and how is the fate of metals that are controlled by primary differences in metal:sulfide and metal:carbon ratios?

Contact and chief scientist:

Gerhard Bohrmann

Current position of Maria S. Merian

Infos about Maria S. Merian from the German Research Fleet Coordination Center



Weekly Reports:

Planned cruise tracks and working areas
Planned cruise tracks and working areas of MERIAN cruise MSM109