Measurement and modelling of deep sea sediment plumes and implications for deep sea mining.
Spearman J; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK. .
Taylor J; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Crossouard N; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Cooper A; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Turnbull M; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Manning A; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Lee M; HR Wallingford, Howbery Park, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA, UK.
Murton B; National Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK.
Scientific reports [Sci Rep] 2020 Mar 19; Vol. 10 (1), pp. 5075. Date of Electronic Publication: 2020 Mar 19.
Typ publikacji :
Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Original Publication: London : Nature Publishing Group, copyright 2011-
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Date Created: 20200321 Date Completed: 20200826 Latest Revision: 20210319
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Deep sea mining concerns the extraction of poly-metallic nodules, cobalt-rich crusts and sulphide deposits from the ocean floor. The exploitation of these resources will result in adverse ecological effects arising from the direct removal of the substrate and, potentially, from the formation of sediment plumes that could result in deposition of fine sediment on sensitive species or entrainment of sediment, chemicals and nutrients into over-lying waters. Hence, identifying the behaviour of deep-sea sediment plumes is important in designing mining operations that are ecologically acceptable. Here, we present the results of novel in situ deep sea plume experiments undertaken on the Tropic seamount, 300 nautical miles SSW of the Canary Islands. These plume experiments were accompanied by hydrographic and oceanographic field surveys and supported by detailed numerical modelling and high resolution video settling velocity measurements of the in situ sediment undertaken in the laboratory. The plume experiments involved the controlled formation of benthic sediment plumes and measurement of the plume sediment concentration at a specially designed lander placed at set distances from the plume origin. The experiments were used as the basis for validation of a numerical dispersion model, which was then used to predict the dispersion of plumes generated by full-scale mining. The results highlight that the extent of dispersion of benthic sediment plumes, resulting from mining operations, is significantly reduced by the effects of flocculation, background turbidity and internal tides. These considerations must be taken into account when evaluating the impact and extent of benthic sediment plumes.
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