Towards real-time assessment of marine hazards: Testing the feasibility of seafloor displacement measurements for monitoring submarine landslides

Funding by Cluster of Excellence 'The Future Ocean'

Continental margins are increasingly used for wind parks, hydrocarbon extraction, pipelines, telecommunication cables, fishing, and mining. The increasing coastal population and new ventures in offshore human activities set new challenges to the assessment and mitigation of marine hazards. Submarine landslides, which have repeatedly caused devastating tsunamis and destroyed seabed infrastructure, are one of the most dangerous marine hazards. In contrast to earthquakes, where endangered areas are relatively well constrained and recurrence rates are often known from historic records, occurrence and timing of submarine landslides remain largely enigmatic. Therefore, hazard assessments for submarine landslides are more difficult than for other marine geohazards. Given the urgent need for improved hazard assessments, key future challenges are the identification of endangered areas, real-time monitoring of submarine slopes, and development of early warning systems. This project took a step towards monitoring of unstable submarine slopes and early warning by means of numerical modeling and analysis of in-situ seafloor deformation measurements from an active submarine landslide.