In February 2018, the research vessel MARIA S. MERIAN sets sail for a new expedition to the Ligurian Sea. A team of scientists led by the chief scientist and geophysicist Prof. Dr. Heidrun Kopp from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) investigates local seismicity and geology.

In the part of the Mediterranean bordered by the island of Corsica in the south and the Italian Riviera in the north, a network of 30 broadband ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) has been stationed since June 2017. The converging plates of Africa and Eurasia, as well as the recent development of the western Mediterranean-Alpine region, have created a complex geodynamic setting. This makes the Ligurian Basin a key region that, despite its moderate seismic level, has been haunted by stronger – sometimes fatal – earthquakes of up to 7.5 magnitude in the past.

During the MSM71 LOBSTER (Ligurian Ocean Bottom Seismology and Tectonics Research) cruise, the team onboard RV MARIA S. MERIAN is retrieving the 30 OBS. Another goal is to evaluate the structure, nature and thickness of the earth’s crust with respect to existing developmental theories of the Ligurian Basin.

The cruise, which ends at the port of Heraklion in Crete at the end of February, is part of the DFG-funded MB-4D (Mountain Building Processes in Four Dimensions) programme, part of the international AlpArray initiative. The aim of this project is to map the structure of the Alps from their surface down to the Earth’s mantle a few hundred kilometers. The GEOMAR, together with the Paris-based Institut de Physique du Globe, covers the offshore component.

A German version of this blog is hosted by www.planeterde.de (Welt der Geowissenschaften).



Prof. Dr. Heidrun Kopp

Tel.: 0431 600 2334
Email: hkopp(at)geomar.de

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Wischhofstrasse 1-3
24148 Kiel