International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 37–56

Morphology and environment of cold-water coral carbonate mounds on the NW European margin


    • Department of Geology and Environmental Research InstituteUniversity College Cork
  • A. Beyer
    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
  • A. Freiwald
    • Institute of PaleontologyUniversity of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • H. de Haas
    • Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)
  • V. A. I. Huvenne
    • Renard Centre of Marine GeologyUniversity of Gent
    • National Oceanography Centre
  • M. Kozachenko
    • Department of Geology and Environmental Research InstituteUniversity College Cork
  • K. Olu-Le Roy
    • IFREMER, Centre de Brest
  • J. Opderbecke
    • Navigation and Vision Department (RNV), Zone Portuaire de BrégaillonIFREMER – Underwater Robotics
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00531-006-0130-6

Cite this article as:
Wheeler, A.J., Beyer, A., Freiwald, A. et al. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2007) 96: 37. doi:10.1007/s00531-006-0130-6


Cold-water coral carbonate mounds, owing their presence mainly to the framework building coral Lophelia pertusa and the activity of associated organisms, are common along the European margin with their spatial distribution allowing them to be divided into a number of mound provinces. Variation in mound attributes are explored via a series of case studies on mound provinces that have been the most intensely investigated: Belgica, Hovland, Pelagia, Logachev and Norwegian Mounds. Morphological variation between mound provinces is discussed under the premise that mound morphology is an expression of the environmental conditions under which mounds are initiated and grow. Cold-water coral carbonate mounds can be divided into those exhibiting “inherited” morphologies (where mound morphology reflects the morphology of the colonised features) and “developed” morphology (where the mounds assume their own gross morphology mainly reflecting dominant hydrodynamic controls). Finer-scale, surface morphological features mainly reflecting biological growth forms are also discussed.


Carbonate moundCold-water coralMorphologyEnvironmental settingSeabed mapping

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006