MIDAS-TREASURE cruise underway

News date: 
May 12, 2014

The Dutch research vessel RV Pelagia set sail from Ponta Delgada in the Azores on 10 May 2014 to embark on a 3-week expedition to explore the Lucky Strike region of the mId-Atlantic Ridge. The cruise is a joint expedition for the EU-funded MIDAS project and the Netherlands research council (NWO) funded TREASURE (Towards Responsible ExtrAction of SUbmarine Resources) project. The overall goal of both projects is the development of a science-based approach and suitable tools for monitoring, predicting and mitigating the environmental impact of deep-sea mining operations.

During the cruise, geological, geochemical, biological and ecological aspects will be investigated by the TREASURE team, whilst the MIDAS team will focus on physical oceanography, in particular collecting data to assess the spatial and temporal variability of oceanographic and hydrodynamic conditions relevant for the dispersion of sediment plumes caused by deep-sea mining. Special attention will be given to processes interacting with horizontal and vertical dispersion of tracers, such as the presence of highly non-linear and turbulent flows, tidal flows, mixing-driven residual flows and internal wave fields. The data collected will enable initialisation and validation of in situ data for use in numerical models with different spatial and temporal resolutions. Three oceanographic moorings will be deployed to continuously measure the current velocity field and temperature values in the water column at three different locations. These moorings will be recovered during a second cruise scheduled for autumn 2014.

The team on board the Pelagia are keeping the world informed of their progress by publishing an online daily dairy at www.nioz.nl/cruise-diary