Workshop: Canadian Geological Survey, Sidney, Canada – 28th July 2016

Co-ordinated international efforts to monitor turbidity currents at global test sites: Synergies with research on benthic ecosystems, carbon fluxes and other seafloor processes? 

Workshop Aims: There has been a widely held view that it is unfeasible to monitor full-scale turbidity currents in action. For instance, Kneller and Bucker (2000, Sedimentology) stated in an influential review that ‘geologically significant turbidity currents are impractical for direct study owing to their large scale and (often) destructive nature’. However, in recent years, work in multiple locations has developed new techniques and approaches, and demonstrated that we can effectively monitor these flows. It is an exciting time to work these flows, as there are opportunity to make fundamental step changes in understanding of what turbidity currents are, and how they work. 
The first aim of this workshop is to compare recent monitoring results from a range of different locations worldwide. The triggers, frequency, internal character and evolution of turbidity currents are highly variable in different settings. We therefore need to observe turbidity currents in not just one location, but a range of suitable locations that capture end-member types of system. These comparisons allow us to identify common and fundamental features of how these flows work, and the factors that control their character and evolution; thereby going beyond individual case studies.
The second aim of the workshop is to share insights into the best approaches and equipment for flow monitoring. What are the best ways forward for flow monitoring in the future, and what can we learn from ongoing and past work? It may be useful to discuss how to acquire a pool of suitable instruments, access to vessels, and expertise to encourage future projects. Ideas to extend existing work, or develop new locations for flow monitoring are very welcome.
Third, there are opportunities to broaden the direct monitoring initiative to include a wider range of science, or indeed new locations. This might include the effects of submarine flows on benthic ecosystems, both in terms of physical disturbance and nutrient supply, work on carbon fluxes or time lapse imaging of submarine slope stability, or other topics. Suggestions for new locations for monitoring also welcomed. This would increase the impact and critical mass of such research.
Finally, physical or mathematical modelling of these flows is needed to understand the full significance of these novel field observations. There are now some outstanding field data sets, and it will be timely to discuss how best to integrate modelling studies going forward. 
Workshop details: The workshop will be from 9 am to 1 pm at the offices of the Geological Survey of Canada in Sidney, British Columbia. Please note that we need to provide passport details to Gwyn Lintern to get a visitors permit. The address is 9860 West Saanich Road, Sidney, British Columbia V8L 4B2, and it is about a 30 minute drive from Victoria. We can learn more about the tremendous monitoring work done by that group, including via cabled observatory systems on the Fraser Delta. 
Timetable: The workshop is intended to be informal with plenty of time for discussion and interjection, and thus differs from INCISE or more traditional conference talks. It will be a chance to discuss what to do next, and how best to move our understanding forwards. In a couple of case, there may be overlap with talks in the main INCISE meeting. In these cases, I have tried to suggest how to make the talks somewhat different, such as by addressing some more general issues. 
Time Contributors and topics
9:00-9:45 Peter Talling
A couple of slides on each of the following key topics, with aim of sparking more general discussions by whole group. Other suggestions for key topics welcomed from other folks – perhaps with 1-2 powerpoint slides.
 1. Global test sites for monitoring active turbidity currents – on overview of ongoing coordinating international efforts. How many test sites do we need, and where?
 2. Technology and methods for monitoring turbidity currents – how best do we monitor turbidity currents? As one example, how do we image dense near-bed layers? 
 3. How do we link flows with their deposits, and hence link to the geological record?  
 4. What role and types of modelling is needed, including to help understand field observations, or to validate models? 
 5. How do we broaden this initiative to include other science communities (benthic ecosystems, carbon fluxes, snow avalanches and other density flow types, polar settings etc)
 6. What next…..ideas for future initiative and key follow on work…
What can we learn from the experiences of those who monitor and model snow avalanches; for example with regards to entrained from the bed and dense near bed layers? How similar or different are snow avalanches and turbidity current synamics…? 
10.30-10.45 Gwyn Lintern, Cooper Stacey, Phil Hill Fraser Delta – Insights from a cabled observatory and future plans
10.45-11.00 Pere Puig Monitoring daily turbidity currents generated by trawling activities in La Fonera Canyon
11.00-11.15 Coffee break  
11.15-11.30 Charlie Paull & Jingping Xu Monterey Canyon - Ongoing CCE Project (Charlie Paull) & previous work (Jingping Xu): how best do we monitor submarine flows? 
11.30-11.45 Esther Sumner & Will Symons Linking flows and deposits – California canyons & elsewhere 
11.45-12.00 Alexandre Normandeau Canadian East Coast -  current approaches, and future ideas
12.00-12.15 Pete Talling, Cooper Stacy, Gwyn Lintern, Kim Cooper et al. Squamish Delta and Bute Inlet 
12.15-12.30 Miwa Yokokawa Modelling supercritical turbidity currents
12.30-12.45 Ricardo Jacinta Sliva and Marta Payo-Payo Additional slides on modelling by IFREMER
12.45-1.00 Matthieu Cartigny, Maria Azpiroz et al. Week-long flows in the Congo Canyon
What next – future initiatives and key questions? How do we link to those working on other aspects of submarine canyons (Veerle Huvenne and Claudio Lo Ianoco)? Open discussion. 
1.30-2.00 Lunch and continued discussion  


Participants Affiliation and contact
Pete Talling National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton/University of Durham, UK
Pere Puig Institute of Marine Sciences, CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
Gwyn Lintern Natural Resources Canada, Canada
Charlie Paull Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, US
Cooper Stacey Natural Resources Canada, Canada 
Phil Hill Natural Resources Canada, Canada
Kim Conway Natural Resources Canada, Canada
Esther Sumner National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton, UK 
Matthieu Cartigny National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton, UK 
Will Symons National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton, UK
Silvia Ceramicola National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Italy
Alexandre Normandeau Geological Survey of Canada - Atlantic, Dartmouth, Canada
Katie Coble United Stated Geological Survey
James McElwaine University of Durham, UK
Jingping Xu Ocean University of China, China
Anna Sanches Vidal CRG Marine Geosciences, University of Barcelona, Spain
Miwa Yokokawa Osaka Institute of Technology, Japan
Claudio Lo Iacono National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton, UK
Veerle Huvenne National Oceanograpy Centre, Southampton, UK
Fabio De Leo Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria, Canada
Martin Scherwath Ocean Networks Canada, University of Victoria, Canada