Project Manager: Bill Ussler
Lead Scientist: Charlie Paull
Lead Engineer: Gene Massion
This project seeks to gain an understanding of
the sediment transport processes that occur within Monterey Canyon. In 2001
we initiated work on four
complementary approaches: (1) observe and sample the materials that are
within the canyon; (2) Monitor the physical conditions by deploying
instruments within the canyon; (3) conduct repeat mapping to document
changes in seafloor morphology within the canyon; and (4) conduct event
response cruises to characterize individual sediment transport events.
A BIN (Benthic
Interconnect Node) and two RINs (Remote Instrument Nodes) were deployed
and the laying of a connecting cable was scheduled for September
2002. Unfortunately, the two RINs were moved by a large sediment transport event within the
axis of the canyon sometime after early June. As a result, we delayed the cable laying
and will instead attempt to learn more about sediment debris flows by
deploying a suite of simpler RINs.
In winter of 2002-2003, an array of five instruments will be placed every 100 meters of water depth along the
axis of the upper canyon to provide fundamental
data on the passage of energy and material under ambient conditions within
the canyon. This experiment will represent one of the most
detailed experiments that have ever been attempted in a submarine
canyon. It will also test whether fully instrumented RINs can remain serviceable deployed in the canyon axis for any
appreciable period of time.
We will begin the repeat mapping activities using the Reson
multibeam system. We will also remain prepared to
launch event response cruises. The only new effort will be to investigate
the nearly persistent turbidity layer that resides in the lower few meters
of the canyon axis. This effort will be based entirely on analysis of the
CTD/transmissometer data collected during the more than 10 years of ROV
dives within the canyon that already exist in the MBARI archives.