Lessons learned from monitoring of turbidity currents and guidance for future platform designs

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: http://doi.org/10.1144/SP500-2019-173. This is version 1 of this Preprint.

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Michael Andrew Clare, D. Gwyn Lintern, Kurt Rosenberger, John Hughes Clarke, Charles Paull, Roberto Gwiazda, Matthieu Cartigny, Peter Talling, Daniel Perera, Jingping Xu


Turbidity currents transport globally significant volumes of sediment and organic carbon into the deep-sea and pose a hazard to critical infrastructure. Despite advances in technology, their powerful nature often damages expensive instruments placed in their path. These challenges mean that turbidity currents have only been measured in a few locations worldwide, in relatively shallow water depths (<<2 km). Here, we share lessons from recent field deployments about how to design the platforms on which instruments are deployed. First, we show how monitoring platforms have been affected by turbidity currents including instability, displacement, tumbling and damage. Second, we relate these issues to specifics of the platform design, such as exposure of large surface area instruments within a flow and inadequate anchoring or seafloor support. Third, we provide recommended improvements to improve design by simplifying mooring configurations, minimising surface area, and enhancing seafloor stability. Finally we highlight novel multi-point moorings that avoid interaction between the instruments and the flow, and flow-resilient seafloor platforms with innovative engineering design features, such as ejectable feet and ballast. Our experience will provide guidance for future deployments, so that more detailed insights can be provided into turbidity current behaviour, and in a wider range of settings.




Earth Sciences, Geology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


ADCP, benthic lander, marine geohazard, mooring, turbidity current


Published: 2020-01-09 05:55


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International