15.02.2017 - 03.03.2017
Tyrrhenian Sea

Institution: GEOMAR
Chief scientist: Sebastian Hölz

The exploration of submarine massive sulfides (SMS) is currently limited to the investigation of systems with concurrent hydrothermal activity as the technologies used are designed to detect anomalies in the water column (temperature, chemical tracer) and the mapping of the seabed morphology. These technologies are not suitable for the detection of inactive systems, which are already submerged by erosion and sedimentation. In order to expand into investigation of inactive systems, the novel marine transient electromagnetic induction system MARTEMIS was developed at GEOMAR, which in principle works like a huge metal detector.
In 2015, MARTEMIS was successfully deployed during the Poseidon cruise POS483 ("ElectroPal") at the Palinuro volcano complex in the Tyrrhenian Sea, about 80km west of Naples. The evaluation of the test measurements revealed not only a pronounced conductivity anomaly in the area of an already known SMS mineralization, but also a second anomaly, which we currently interpret as a previously unknown SMS mineralization beneath a sediment layer.
During the cruise POS509, the entire surface of the volcanic cone is investigated with the MARTEMIS system and supplemented by further geophysical and geological measurements. In this way, the science crew of POS 509 aims to determine the size of the SMS deposits as accurately as possible.

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