METEOR M162

06.03.2020 - 11.04.2020
Subtropical Atlantic; Eastern Azores

Institution: GEOMAR
Chief scientist: Christian Hensen

The cruise aims at the investigation of potential fluid emanation sites in an unexplored area along the Gloria Fault and the Azores Plateau. It is intended as a systematic continuation of recent and ongoing work on how fluid recycling continues away from mid-ocean ridges and continental margins, which is essentially unknown to date. Previous cruises (MSM1/3, M86/5) along the eastern continuation of the Gloria Fault revealed fault-controlled mud volcanism along the SWIM-lineaments in the Gulf of Cadiz and distinct indications for fluid admixture from deeply buried oceanic crust. The Gloria Fault is essentially an old, reactivated oceanic fracture zone, which is seismically active (e.g. M8.4 event in 1941) implying evidence for tectonically driven fluid remobilization. Nevertheless, fluid emanation has not been reported so far, but available data show indi-cations in a number of places, which await closer inspection. A panoply of mapping and sampling techniques, heat flow measurements, water column and sediment sampling, will be applied. Our results may have important implications concerning the alteration of oceanic lithosphere and their control on tectonic and seismic activity as well as the spread of chemosyn-thetic ecosystems and the understanding of global element cycles.

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