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Project details

Title: RV Investigator Charter - Great Australian Bight Deepwater Marine Program
Id: 2436
Short Name: RV Investigator Charter - GAB Deepwater Marine Program
Investigator(s): Andrew Ross
CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere - Floreat [details]

Description: Great Australian Bight Deepwater Marine Program. RV Investigator Charter - in2015_c01.
Years: 2015 to 2017
Hierachy: Great Australian Bight Deepwater Marine Program



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Survey InvestigatorDescription

Dr Asrar Talukder (CSIRO) The voyage objectives are built around three main scientific objectives: * The benthic characterisation and sampling outcropping sedimentary rocks to aid understanding of modern seabed erosional mechanisms, sedimentary processes and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. * Benthic characterisation and sampling in areas of potential seepage to determine if fluid escape is occurring and the nature of the fluids and their relationship to the benthic fauna in these areas. * Sampling of benthic fauna over a large geographic area to establish deep water community structure and function and augment understandings gained from recent IN2015_C01 and IN2015_C02 voyages. Benthic characterisation of outcrop rocks and sampling of benthic fauna carry higher weight than that of the seep characterisation. The voyage plan includes more planned operations in each target area than can be achieved within the time allocations for the survey. Each of these target areas are ranked based on their importance in delivering on the scientific objectives. The survey will use a hierarchical design comprising seafloor mapping prior to seafloor sampling and limited water column characterisation. Seafloor mapping and water column characterisation 1. Hull mounted acoustic characterisation of the water column and seafloor over the target areas of interest. This activity will comprise the use of MBES, water column acoustic backscatter, single beam echo sounder, sub-bottom profiler and ADCP to determine processes occurring in the water column and map the seafloor and shallow subsurface geology. 2. Seafloor characterisation from the surface will be complemented with a limited number of tow camera to obtain video transects across the target area seafloor and overlying near bottom waters. Seafloor and water column sampling A number of sampling operations will be undertaken to describe the seafloor geology and benthic biota. Each sampling operation will differ dependant on sampling target, primarily based on substrate composition. For the soft substrate targets there will be a focus on grab samples whilst for the harder substrate types the focus will be on dredging. Sampling will be by: 1. Deployment of grab sampler to sample the surface sediment infauna, microbiology, hydrocarbon chemistry and physical properties. 2. Use of a beam trawl or Sherman sled to collect samples of benthic macro fauna over target areas. 3. Use of rock dredges to collects lithified sediments for description and detailed chemical analysis. 4. Limited collections of water column profile data including CTD, chemical sensor readings and associated water samples

The RE2017-C01 survey also used two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to sample sites visited in IN2017_C01 for fine-scale habitat visualisation and collecting. Survey dates are approximate as operations have locations but no deployment times.

A. Ross (CSIRO, Energy) RV Investigator Research Charter Voyage in2015_c01. GAB deep water geological and benthic ecology program. Scientific objectives: The Great Australian Bight (GAB) represents one of Australia's most prospective frontier hydrocarbon exploration regions. However, the primary Ceduna sedimentary sub-basin - the focus of our work - is characterised by a paucity of data on its deep water geology and almost no knowledge of its benthic biological communities. The Ceduna sub-basin is the product of rifting followed by the subsequent Southern Ocean seafloor spreading between Australia and Antarctica. The rifting created a narrow seaway between Australia and Antarctica, which was initially filled by two large deltaic super sequences (represented by the Tiger and Hammerhead super sequences respectively). Decreased sediment supply followed this period, during which commencement of fast seafloor spreading led to the initiation of widespread igneous activity and the development of a large number of volcanoes across the basin. Subsequent low sedimentation rates combined with continued subsidence have created the current modern deep water Ceduna sub-basin geomorphology. Key knowledge gaps in the understanding of the fundamental geology of the Ceduna sub-basin include: 1. Sedimentary facies and source rocks. 2. Hydrocarbon seeps. 3. Mid-Eocene Volcanic activity. 4. Basin and benthic biodiversity and distribution. The voyage objectives are built around three main survey targets: * Outcrops of sedimentary rocks - to collect samples for sedimentary facies and source rock analysis * Potential areas of seepage - to determine if hydrocarbon seepage can be identified * Deepwater seamounts - to identify, sample and investigate the nature of the mid-Eocene volcanics. Extracts from in2015_c01 voyage plan.
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