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RV METEOR Cruise M65/2

The continental margin off Northwest Africa is largely shaped by a complex interplay of sediment transport processes directed both downslope and along-slope. Where and how sediment 1) is exported from the shelf, 2) is deposited on the continental slope or 3) reaches the deep-sea basin depends on a wide variety of relevant factors such as seabed morphology, climate, sea level fluctuations, slope stability, oceanographic regime, and sediment sources.

Main target of METEOR-Cruise M65/2 in July 2005 was to develop sedimentary and evolutionary models for the sedimentation dynamics off NW-Africa and to establish quantitative sediment budgets in relation to climate controlled variable sediment supply. Work was concentrated in three areas: the continental margin off Senegal, the Cap Timiris Canyon and the continental margin off Cap Blanc.

Sediment transport off Senegal was studied by means of geophysical, sedimentological, and geochemical methods. The upper and middle continental slope off Senegal is remarkably stable without any indications of large scale downslope sediment-transport, while numerous slides were identified in water depth >3000m. One of these slides destroyed the prominent Dakar Canyon.

The >450km long meandering Cap Timiris Canyon was discovered during Meteor-Cruise M58/1 in 2003. During Meteor-Cruise M65/2 we continued our investigations at the shelf edge and the previously not studied distal canyon. The canyon is probably linked to an ancient river and shows a very complex pattern at the upper continental slope. The evolution of the distal channel is characterised by periodic avulsions. As suggested by vertically and horizontally stacked patterns of the channel-levee systems, the various avulsion channels must have generally been active at different times.

The main objective of the investigations in the central upwelling zone off Cap Blanc is to study the seasonal and interannual variability of the particle flux. Two moorings were exchanged the particle camera profiles were collected at the mooring stations.

Scientific crew of Meteor-Cruise M65/2

Track Chart of Meteor-Cruise M65/2.