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D. Gwyn Lintern, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, Canada
Cooper Stacey, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, Canada
Philip Hill, Geological Survey of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Sidney, Canada
Measuring powerful turbidity currents which leave no trace

Turbidity currents are difficult to monitor directly. We have made direct and high bandwidth observations of turbidity currents using a cabled seafloor observatory. This talk outlines the techniques and instruments we are using. The main platforms have undergone several version changes. From 2008 to 2012 the platform had been almost completely buried and anchored into the seabed of the upper delta due to high sedimentation, and had been tumbled to its side by then unknown reasons. On 5 June 2012, a 2 tonne platform located in 107 m was displaced downslope and severed from its data cable. It was found 250 m downslope. A much more streamlined platform has replaced the original, but still undergoes movement during the strong turbidity currents. Lines of evidence indicate that the flows come in as a bed hugging wedge, and build up to between 1 m and 4 m in height as the head passed through. Curiously, these strong events failed to cause discernible seabed elevation change. This talk presents a newly instrumented platform which is specifically designed from a science perspective, from lessons learned regarding both the difficult environment, and the limitations of existing instruments.

Theme 2: New ways to study submarine canyons: integrated programs, new technologies and coordinated monitoring efforts
Oral Presentation
monitoring