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Scientific ocean drilling to assess submarine geohazards along European margins
Ask, M. V. ; Camerlenghi, A.; Kopf, A.; Morgan, J. K.; participants of the 2008 ESF Magellan workshop “Ocean Drilling for Seismic Hazard in European Geosystems” (2008). Scientific ocean drilling to assess submarine geohazards along European margins. Eos, Trans. (Wash. D.C.) 89(53): U51A-0020
In: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. American Geophysical Union: Washington. ISSN 0096-3941; e-ISSN 2324-9250, more

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Authors  Top 
  • Ask, M. V.
  • Camerlenghi, A.
  • Kopf, A.
  • Morgan, J. K.
  • participants of the 2008 ESF Magellan workshop “Ocean Drilling for Seismic Hazard in European Geosystems”

    Submarine geohazards are some of the most devastating natural events in terms of lives lost and economic impact. Earthquakes pose a big threat to society and infrastructure, but the understanding of their episodic generation is incomplete. Tsunamis are known for their potential of striking coastlines world-wide. Other geohazards originating below the sea surface are equally dangerous for undersea structures and the coastal population: submarine landslides and volcanic islands collapse with little warning and devastating consequences. The European scientific community has a strong focus on geohazards along European and nearby continental margins, especially given their high population densities, and long historic and prehistoric record of hazardous events. For example, the Mediterranean is surrounded by very densely-populated coastline and is the World's leading holiday destination, receiving up 30% of global tourism. In addition, its seafloor is criss-crossed by hydrocarbon pipelines and telecommunication cables. However, the governing processes and recurrence intervals of geohazards are still poorly understood. Examples include, but are not limited to, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions along the active tectonic margins of the Mediterranean and Sea of Marmara, landslides on both active and passive margins, and tsunamites and seismites in the sedimentary record that suggest a long history of similar events. The development of geophysical networks, drilling, sampling and long-term monitoring are crucial to the understanding of earthquake, landslide, and tsunami processes, and to mitigate the associated risks in densely populated and industrialized regions such as Europe. Scientific drilling, particularly in the submarine setting, offers a unique tool to obtain drill core samples, borehole measurements and long-term observations. Hence, it is a critical technology to investigate past, present, and possible future influences of hazardous processes in this area. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) provides technologically top-level drilling vessels and platforms that can be used by scientists to address global scientific problems, including the causes and processes responsible for submarine geohazards. Both IODP and ECORD (the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling in collaboration with the European Science Foundation) support scientific initiatives towards submarine geohazards, because the geological record of geohazards can be read and interpreted only through ocean drilling, combined with a broad array of geophysical, geotechnical, and laboratory studies, to identify structures and deposits associated with hazardous phenomena.

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