PELAGIA 64PE445 SALTax - 26.08.2018 - 20.09.2018 - Red Sea

Institution: GEOMAR
Chief scientist: Nico Augustin

The NIOZ crew on deck of the RV Pelagia. Photo: Thijs Heslenfeld.

Therefore, expedition 64PE-445 SaltAx aims to map these submarine salt flows in the Red Sea in high resolution and to investigate their internal structure by sparker seismics and magnetics. A large amount of time will be invested in seafloor mapping with the ships own multibeam echo sounder and in seismic surveys. These data will be combined with magnetic measurements to identify lithological variations within the salt glaciers. For the correct interpretation of the mapped structures, ground truthing by seafloor sampling with gravity corer and geological rock dredges will be carried out.

With the investigation of the sediment and salt glaciers' subsurface structure, the morphology of the uppermost salt reflector, structures in the overlaying sediments and potential imaging of volcanic or hydrothermal intrusions, the scientists on board RV Pelagia aim to better understand the kinematics of salt flowage into the Red Sea rift valley and thus the history of a young, volcanically and hydrothermally active mid-ocean rift. These studies will help to understand geological processes in other young, salt-filled ocean basins like the so-called Aptian Salt Basin, which grew over the last 125 million years to form the South Atlantic with large oil and gas fields at its margins.

The project is funded from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and is carried out in the framework of the European OFEG Barter system. Researchers from GEOMAR, the University of Manchester (UK), University of Hamburg and the Red Sea University in Port Sudan participate the expedition.