International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 37–56 | Cite as

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

  • A. J. Wheeler
  • A. Beyer
  • A. Freiwald
  • H. de Haas
  • V. A. I. Huvenne
  • M. Kozachenko
  • K. Olu-Le Roy
  • J. Opderbecke
Original Paper


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 mound Cold-water coral Morphology Environmental setting Seabed mapping 



The authors would like to acknowledge the following contributions. TOBI data collection was undertaken with financial support of the European Union (EASSS III programme, ‘Improving human potential’, contract HPRI-CT-1999–00047) and the Porcupine Studies Group (PSG) of the Irish Petroleum Infrastructure Programme Group 3. The PSG comprises: Agip Ireland BV, Chevron UK Ltd, Elf Petroleum Ireland BV, Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd, Marathon International, Hibernia Ltd, Phillips Petroleum Company United Kingdom Ltd, Statoil Exploration (Ireland) and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources of the Irish Government. Other datasets were collected under the auspices of EU Fifth Framework Programme Projects; ACES “Atlantic Coral Ecosystem Study” (Contract number: EVK3-CT-1999-00008), ECOMOUND “Environmental Controls on Mound Formation along the European Margin” (Contract number: EVK3-CT-1999-00013) and GEOMOUND “The Mound Factory - Internal Controls” (Contract number: EVK3-CT-1999-00080). Contributions by one of the authors (Veerle Huvenne) was funded through the ‘Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek—Vlaanderen’ and under a European Marie Curie post-doctoral fellowship and honorary post-doc fellowship with the FWO-Vlaanderen.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Wheeler
    • 1
  • A. Beyer
    • 2
  • A. Freiwald
    • 3
  • H. de Haas
    • 4
  • V. A. I. Huvenne
    • 5
    • 6
  • M. Kozachenko
    • 1
  • K. Olu-Le Roy
    • 7
  • J. Opderbecke
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Geology and Environmental Research InstituteUniversity College CorkCorkIreland
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of PaleontologyUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  4. 4.Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)Den BurgThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Renard Centre of Marine GeologyUniversity of GentGentBelgium
  6. 6.National Oceanography CentreSouthamptonUK
  7. 7.IFREMER, Centre de BrestPlouzanéFrance
  8. 8.Navigation and Vision Department (RNV), Zone Portuaire de BrégaillonIFREMER – Underwater RoboticsLa Seyne-sur-merFrance

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