Seafloor Hazards and Marine Resources

How can we identify the natural hazards of the sea at an early stage?

The earth is a dynamic body under constant development: new ocean floor, which slides underneath the lighter continental plates at deep-sea trenches, is created at mid-ocean ridges. These processes are the fundamental sources of earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity – the natural hazards which have disastrous consequences in many parts of the world. The scientists at GEOMAR are gaining a better understanding of these processes in order to create risk assessments for coastal areas and to warn against natural disasters at an early stage. Autonomous and remotely operated instruments, including ocean bottom seismometers and long-term geodetic observatories are just some of the innovative monitoring devices that are used for sensing and monitoring the sea floor. Information is generated by direct sampling and by indirect methods, such as seismic or hydroacoustic surveying. In addition, theoretical studies employing sophisticated computer models help to better understand the long-term processes that cannot be observed in the human lifespan.

How can we utilize marine resources in an environmentally sustainable way?

Biological, mineral and energetic ressources are found in the ocean and on the seabed. At GEOMAR, deposits and possible environmentally compatible uses are being investigated in various areas. A large number of mineral raw materials are hidden in the seabed, although the exact quantities and locations are still widely unknown. These include massive sulphides, which form in areas of volcanic activity at the plate boundaries in the oceans, as well as manganese nodules on the sediment-covered deep-sea plains. Research on marine mineral resources has been conducted at GEOMAR for many years. With an interdisciplinary research approach and in close scientific cooperation worldwide, opportunities and risks for the use of mineral resources are comprehensively examined. In addition to the search for new deposits and the assessment of the economic potential, the ecological risks of possible deep-sea mining are of great importance and are being researched by GEOMAR. This includes, for example, assessing the long-term effects and risks to the environment from deep-sea manganese nodule mining. Marine resources also include marine organisms that are rich in ingredients from which life-saving medicines and other multifunctional active substances can be obtained. The GEOMAR Centre for Marine Biotechnology (GEOMAR-Biotech) is a central component of the research unit Marine Natural Products Chemistry, where applied research in the field of marine biotechnology is located.

Further scientific information can be found on the pages of the Research Division 4: Dynamics of the Ocean Floor and with respect to biological ressources also in the Research Division 3: Marine Ecology

News for topic: Seafloor Hazards and Marine Resources

Map of the Atlantis II Fracture Zone

A new view on plate tectonics

Nature study finds transform faults play active role in shaping ocean floors

 Woman with red hard hat and clipboard in hand squats on a ship deck in front of a device.

How dangerous are coastal and ocean island volcanoes?

GEOMAR scientist Dr. Morelia Urlaub received a prestigious Starting Grant from the European Research Council to study volcanic flank collapses

World map with different sized blue circles along all continental margins. The blue circles indicate offshore groundwater deposits.

Will drinking water soon come from the seabed?

New overview study shows potential of global offshore groundwater resources

Electron-micrograph of Uvigerina peregrina

Hidden phosphate reservoirs discovered in microorganisms

GEOMAR study explains role of microbes in marine nutrition circles

The sun is shining above the SONNE.

The earth's mantle as a lava lamp

Volcanic chains “recycle” oceanic crust and continental material

Hot vent on the sea floor. Photo: ROV team/GEOMAR

ROV KIEL 6000 discovers ‘clear smokers’ off Iceland

IceAGE3 expedition delivers fascinating images of the seafloor off Iceland

A cod. Photo: Nikolas Linke/GEOMAR

Populations of popular food fish are declining globally

New studies also show opportunities for fisheries management through Corona

Bladder wrack. Photo: Larissa Büdenbender

Marine alga from the Kiel Fjord discovered as a remedy against infections and skin cancer

GEOMAR research group successfully applies bioinformatics methods and machine learning in marine drug discovery

Vice-Rector of the St. Petersburg Mining University, Prof. Dr. Igor B. Sergeyev presents the award to Iason-Zois Gazis. Photo: Raw Material Forum.

Detection of raw materials research by machine learning honoured

Researcher from GEOMAR receives award at a German-Russian conference

[Translate to English:] Vor 35 Millionen Jahren schlug an der nordamerikanischen Ostküste ein Asteroid ein. Auswurf-Material aus der Einschlagstelle verteilte sich über eine Fläche von mindestens 7 Millionen Quadratkilomtern (Tektite field). In Bohrproben vom Meeresboden, die 400 Kilometer von der Einschlagstelle entfernt genommen worden sind (ODP 1073) haben Forscherinnen und Forscher jetzt eindeutige Spuren des Einschlags gefunden und erstmals mit der Uran-Thorium-Helium-Technik datiert. Image reproduced from the GEBCO world map 2014,

Space exploration on the sea floor

Traces of an extraterrestrial impact event detected in marine sediments