, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 1–24 | Cite as

Franken Mound: facies and biocoenoses on a newly-discovered “carbonate mound” on the western Rockall Bank, NE Atlantic

  • Claudia Wienberg
  • Lydia Beuck
  • Sebastian Heidkamp
  • Dierk Hebbeln
  • André Freiwald
  • Olaf Pfannkuche
  • Xavier Monteys
Original Article


Cold-water coral carbonate mounds are widespread along the Irish continental margin. Whereas the Porcupine Seabight and the Rockall Trough are relatively well studied with regard to mound topography, coral coverage, and benthic life diversity, the situation on the western Rockall Bank is rather unknown. Detailed facies and biocoenoses mapping based on video footage analyses was conducted on the newly-discovered Franken Mound. Facies were identified ranging between cliff-like to planar hardgrounds and soft sediments that are partly rippled. A variety of biocoenoses are associated with these facies comprising discrete live coral colonies, dense live and dead coral framework coverage, abundant to scattered coral debris, and a soft sediment faunal community, whereas the latter is three times less speciose as biocoenoses containing live framework-building corals. The facies and biocoenosis classes are supplemented by exposed dropstones, lost fishery nets, and rubbish. The distribution of the classes clearly indicates a close relationship with local current effects and current intensification. Due to the dominance of dead coral framework and the partially exposed internal sediment sequences on the mound flanks, it is assumed that Franken Mound is approaching the “mound retirement” mound growth state.


Facies Biocoenoses Cold-water corals Carbonate mound Current regime Franken Mound Western Rockall Bank 



The authors like to thank the captain and crew of the German R/V METEOR, the ROV-team of the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM, Bremen, Germany), the OFOS-team of the Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR, Kiel, Germany) and the scientific crew for their great support during cruises M61/1 and M61/3. We are thankful to Dr. A. Rüggeberg who performed the CTD casts on Franken Mound and to T. Beck, A. Vertino, E. Le Guilloux and T. Molodtsova for their support in identifying the megafauna present on Franken Mound. The ROV imagery data are courtesy and copyright of MARUM, Bremen. T. van Weering and one anonymous reviewer are gratefully acknowledged for their comments and suggestions, which helped to improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the European Science Foundation (ESF) EUROCORES-EUROMARGINS program (project MOUNDFORCE) and continued within the frame of the HERMES project, EC contract no. GOCE-CT-2005-511234, funded by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme under the priority “Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems”. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) funded the R/V METEOR cruise No. 61 “Northeast Atlantic 2004”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Wienberg
    • 1
  • Lydia Beuck
    • 2
  • Sebastian Heidkamp
    • 1
  • Dierk Hebbeln
    • 1
  • André Freiwald
    • 2
  • Olaf Pfannkuche
    • 3
  • Xavier Monteys
    • 4
  1. 1.MARUM, Center for Marine Environmental SciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PalaeontologyUniversity of Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz-Institute of Marine SciencesKielGermany
  4. 4.Geological Survey of Ireland, Beggars BushDublin 4Ireland

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