Changes in seabed morphology, mud temperature and free gas venting at the Håkon Mosby mud volcano, offshore northern Norway, over the time period 2003–2006
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The Håkon Mosby mud volcano is a 1.5-km-diameter geological structure located on the Southwest Barents Sea slope at a water depth of 1,270 m. High-definition seabed mapping of the mud volcano has been carried out in 2003 and 2006. A comparative analysis of the bathymetry and backscatter maps produced from the two surveys shows subtle morphological changes over the entire crater of the mud volcano, interpreted to be the consequence of mud eruption events. Mud temperature measurements point to a persistently warm mud at shallow depth in the crater. This is explained by upward fluid advection, rather than conductive cooling of mud flows. The small-scale spatial variability in the temperature distribution may be related to mud outflows or changes in the fluid flow regime. Furthermore, the locations of free gas venting observed in 2006 were found to differ from those of 2003. Our observations of overall similar topographic profiles across the mud volcano in 2003 and 2006 suggest that eruption events would have been modest. Nevertheless, the data bring evidence of significant change in activity even over short time intervals of only 3 years. This may be a characteristic shared by other submarine mud volcanoes, notably those considered to be in a quiescent stage.
KeywordsFlare High Backscatter Fluid Flow Regime Entire Crater Hummocky Area
The Vicking cruise (2006) of the R/V Pourquoi pas? using the Victor ROV was carried out in the frame of the HERMES Project funded by the European Commission’s Framework Sixth Programme, under the priority Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems, EC Contract No. GOCE-CT-2005-511234. We acknowledge the efficient assistance of the Master and Crew of the R/V Pourquoi pas? and of the Victor ROV team during the Vicking cruise. We thank Ifremer colleagues Alain Normand for processing the multibeam data, and Catherine Satra and Marie-Claire Fabri for their help in the development and use of the GIS. We are grateful to Doug Masson and George Delisle for helpful reviews.
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