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Dynamic Autoclave Piston Corer (DAPC)

Prof. Dr. G. Bohrmann
Dr. T. Pape
The Dynamic Autoclave Piston Corer (DAPC) is an autonomous tool that enables recovery of shallow sediment cores under in situ hydrostatic pressure from board a conventional research vessel. It was designed and built in the frame of the research project OMEGA (2000 – 2003) funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research and deployed in the following projects METRO and SUGAR as well.
The DAPC resembles a standard piston corer in size and function and consists of a pressure chamber and a core-cutting barrel. The core liner diameter is 8.4 cm and the maximum core length about 264 cm resulting in a maximum core volume of 13,855 mL. A core cutter that is specifically designed to penetrate gas-hydrate-bearing sediments in the free-fall mode is mounted to the lower end of the core-cutting barrel.
After release of the DAPC at the seafloor, the core-cutting barrel including the core liner penetrates the seafloor while the piston remains on the sediment-surface. By lifting the piston with the ship’s cable, the core liner including the sediment core is pulled through the ball valve located between the pressure chamber and the core-cutting barrel into the pressure chamber. Finally, the pressure chamber is locked gastight at its top by this piston, while at its lower end the gas-tight ball valve is turned into the closing position.
After recovery of the DAPC on the ships deck, the core cutting barrel is dismantled. The pressure chamber containing the hydrate-bearing pressure core positioned upright to enable gas accumulation at its upper part for quantitative degassing.
Transfer chambers for cutting and storage of shorter core segments under pressure for visualization by computerized tomography (CT) were developed in the frame of the METRO project. These chambers were successfully deployed during expedition M72/3.

Specifications of the Dynamic Autoclave Piston Corer (DAPC)

Core Liner length (max.)265 cm
Liner diameter8.4 cm
Liner volume13,988 mL
TÜV-certified pressure140 bar (2.03 kpsi)
with GRP
200 bar (2.90 kpsi)
with CRP
Weight of pressure chamber230 kg
System height700cm
System diameter45cm
System weightca. 500 kg
GRP = glass fibre reinforced plastic; CRP = carbon fibre reinforced plastic


Abegg F, Hohnberg HJ, Pape T, Bohrmann G, Freitag J (2008) Development and application of pressure-core-sampling systems for the investigation of gas- and gas-hydrate-bearing sediments. Deep-Sea Research I: Oceanographic Research Papers 55:1590-1599. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2008.06.006

Feseker T, Pape T, Wallmann K, Klapp SA, Schmidt-Schierhorn F, Bohrmann G (2009) The thermal structure of the Dvurechenskii mud volcano and its implications for gas hydrate stability and eruption dynamics. Marine and Petroleum Geology 26:1812-1823. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2009.01.021

Heeschen KU, Hohnberg HJ, Haeckel M, Abegg F, Drews M, Bohrmann G (2007) In situ hydrocarbon concentrations from pressurized cores in surface sediments, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Chemistry 107:498-515. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2007.08.008

Heeschen K, Haeckel M, Klaucke I, Ivanov MK, Bohrmann G (2011) Quantifying in-situ gas hydrates at active seep sites in the eastern Black Sea using pressure coring technique. Biogeosciences 8:3555-3565. doi:10.5194/bg-8-3555-2011

Pape T, Bahr A, Rethemeyer J, Kessler JD, Sahling H, Hinrichs KU, Klapp SA, Reeburgh WS, Bohrmann G (2010) Molecular and isotopic partitioning of low-molecular weight hydrocarbons during migration and gas hydrate precipitation in deposits of a high-flux seepage site. Chemical Geology 269:350-363. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.10.009

Pape T, Kasten S, Zabel M, Bahr A, Abegg F, Hohnberg H-J, Bohrmann G (2010) Gas hydrates in shallow deposits of the Amsterdam mud volcano, Anaximander Mountains, Northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Geo-Marine Letters 30:187-206. doi:10.1007/s00367-010-0197-8

Pape T, Bahr A, Klapp SA, Abegg F, Bohrmann G (2011) High-intensity gas seepage causes rafting of shallow gas hydrates in the southeastern Black Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307:35-46. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.04.030

Pape T, Feseker T, Kasten S, Fischer D, Bohrmann G (2011) Distribution and abundance of gas hydrates in near-surface deposits of the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano, SW Barents Sea. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 12:Q09009. doi:10.1029/2011gc003575
The DAPC was successfully deployed during several ship expeditions:
  • SO174 (2003)
  • R.V. AEGAEO (2004)
  • SO177 (2004)
  • M70/3 (2006)
  • M72/3 (2007)
  • PS70 (2007)
  • MSM15/2 (2010)
  • M84/2 (2011)
  • Guineco-MeBo (2011)
  • P462 (2013)
  • M112 (2014)
  • M134 (2017)