Academic Research Projects using INSS data
Recent depositional environments and processes are being investigated on the upper continental slope of the western margin of the Porcupine Bank. A multidisciplinary study using high-resolution deep-towed sidescan sonar, multibeam sonar, shallow seismic, underwater TV-system and bottom sampling was conducted on this area which is dominated by a recently discovered large cluster of giant carbonate mounds limited eastwards by a N/S fault scarp system and to the west by the steep edge of the deep water canyon, Porcupine Bank canyon.
Amongst the main goals is the study in detail of the morphology, structure and composition of seabed features such as carbonate mounds, scarps, faults, iceberg ploughmarks and other glacial features. Particular attention is being paid to the biology of the mounds, deep water corals and microfauna, and to their relationship with the underlying basement. Several outcrops were identified both in mounds and on the actual fault scarp and sampled for further laboratory studies. All of this research will contribute to a better understanding of the regional hydrodynamic regime as well as creating a better framework for paleoclimate studies.
Multibeam seabed unsupervised classification, based on backscatter image segmentation, has been performed to the entire region.
Shallow coring of the marginal slopes of the Rockall Trough was undertaken by M.V. Challenger and M.V. Polarboy during summers 1998 and 1999 under the auspices of the Rockall Studies Group of the Irish Petroleum Infrastructure Programme. This project studies a subset of 60 of these gravity cores integrating them with other seabed data such as shallow seismic, TOBI sidescan imagery and high-resolution GSI bathymetry data. The cores ranges in length from 0.35 to 3.14 m and were acquired on four sites along the margins of the trough: (i) West Porcupine Bank Slopes; (ii) North Porcupine Bank Slopes; (iii) East Rockall Trough and (iv) West Rockall Trough. Key aims of the study are to characterise the magnitude and frequency of gravity-driven, downslope sediment transfer and to assess the importance of bottom current reworking and winnowing on the slope. In particular the project will study how the bottom currents vary with time and space within the Rockall Trough. The study also aims to provide new insights into the evolution of the NE Atlantic slopes under glacial/interglacial forcing.
There are various integration issues involved with
the unification of off-shore to on-shore datasets, these include, but
are not limited to, datums (both horizontal and vertical), projections,
the temporal nature of data, accuracy, scale and generalisation.
The aim of the thesis is to examine the accuracies of two tidal prediction computer programs, Polpred and Fugro HP MSS. These two prediction programs are being compared against both coastal and offshore tide gauge data.
The correct tide model is essential to the accurate surveying of the bathymetry of the seabed. The comparison is being made in the Irish Conservation Box, Southern Section. This area is located off the coast of Tralee, Co. Kerry. This area contains very few coastal or offshore tide gauges, and relies heavily on the accuracy of tidal prediction models. A coastal tide gauge was installed at Allihies on the 7th of September 2004. This coastal tide gauge is being used as a cross check on the accuracy of the prediction programs, in an effort to detect gross errors. In addition to this offshore tide gauges have been deployed in the survey area, and left to collect data for a period of approximately 5 days. There is one offshore tide gauge onboard the R.V. Celtic Explorer, which has been deployed on 4 separate occasions. The thesis will examine the relationship between the coastal tide gauge at Allihies, the offshore tide gauge data, Fugro HP MSS and Polpred prediction program. A complication in using the offshore tide gauge data is that it is not referenced to the Irish vertical datum at Malin Head, Co. Donegal. The Polpred Mean Sea Level must therefore be used for the offshore tide gauge. If possible, the accuracy of this Polpred Mean Sea Level will be determined
INSS data is being used as part of a PhD project
in the Department of Geology at UCD that commenced in October 2002. The
PhD project, entitled " The development of Cenozoic basin margins,
slopes and slope failures in the Porcupine and Rockall troughs, offshore
Ireland" is being carried out under the supervision of Prof P.M.
Shannon and Dr P.D.W. Haughton. INSS data is being integrated with existing
datasets (2D seismic reflection data, TOBI sidescan sonar & 3.5 kHz
echosounder) to look at the evolution of the basin margins through the
Cenozoic, with an emphasis on looking at the styles of failure in both
time and space along the margins. Particular interest is focused on utilising
the INSS data to examine the canyon systems on the eastern margin of the
Rockall Trough and the large-scale failure features on the western side
of the trough. See departmental website for further details of the project:
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