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Thousands of cold-water coral mounds along the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin : distribution and morphometry

(2019) MARINE GEOLOGY. 411. p.51-61
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Abstract
Coral mounds formed by framework-forming cold-water corals pierce the seabed along most continental margins of the Atlantic Ocean and new sites are continuously being discovered. Here, we describe an extremely high accumulation of coral mounds at the NW Moroccan Atlantic margin between 35 degrees N and 35.5 degrees N. Within an area of only 1440 km(2), > 3400 mounds were found exposed at the seabed. The coral mounds are nowadays characterized by an almost complete lack of living cold-water corals. In addition, numerous buried mounds were identified in hydroacoustic sub-bottom profiles, and are estimated to be similar to 3.7 times more frequent than the exposed mounds. Consequently, a total of similar to 16,000 buried and exposed mounds is estimated for the entire study area. The exposed mounds are rather small with a mean height of 18 m and show a conspicuous arrangement in two slope-parallel belts that centre in water depths between 720 and 870 m and 890-980 m, respectively, putting them among the deepest mound occurrences discovered so far in the Atlantic. The mostly elongated mounds largely stretch downslope pointing to a significant influence of internal waves in the mound formation process. Moreover, based on their average dimensions, the entire coral mound volume can be estimated as 1.3 km(3), which means the mounds store a considerable amount of coral carbonate highlighting their potentially important role as regional carbonate factories. In combination with further occurrences of coral mounds along the Moroccan margin, both in the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic Ocean, these new findings underline Morocco's role as a hotspot for the occurrence of cold-water coral mounds.
Keywords
Cold-water corals, Coral mounds, NW African margin, Internal waves, Carbonate budget KeyWords Plus:HIGH-RESOLUTION BATHYMETRY, MUD VOLCANO PROVINCE, CARBONATE MOUNDS, SOUTHERN GULF, DEEP-WATER, ROCKALL TROUGH, BOUNDARY-CONDITIONS, PORCUPINE SEABIGHT, LOPHELIA-PERTUSA, CHALLENGER MOUND

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Chicago
Hebbeln, Dierk, Maren Bender, Stefanie Gaide, Jürgen Titschack, Thomas Vandorpe, David Van Rooij, Paul Wintersteller, and Claudia Wienberg. 2019. “Thousands of Cold-water Coral Mounds Along the Moroccan Atlantic Continental Margin : Distribution and Morphometry.” Marine Geology 411: 51–61.
APA
Hebbeln, D., Bender, M., Gaide, S., Titschack, J., Vandorpe, T., Van Rooij, D., Wintersteller, P., et al. (2019). Thousands of cold-water coral mounds along the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin : distribution and morphometry. MARINE GEOLOGY, 411, 51–61.
Vancouver
1.
Hebbeln D, Bender M, Gaide S, Titschack J, Vandorpe T, Van Rooij D, et al. Thousands of cold-water coral mounds along the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin : distribution and morphometry. MARINE GEOLOGY. 2019;411:51–61.
MLA
Hebbeln, Dierk et al. “Thousands of Cold-water Coral Mounds Along the Moroccan Atlantic Continental Margin : Distribution and Morphometry.” MARINE GEOLOGY 411 (2019): 51–61. Print.
@article{8612631,
  abstract     = {Coral mounds formed by framework-forming cold-water corals pierce the seabed along most continental margins of the Atlantic Ocean and new sites are continuously being discovered. Here, we describe an extremely high accumulation of coral mounds at the NW Moroccan Atlantic margin between 35 degrees N and 35.5 degrees N. Within an area of only 1440 km(2), > 3400 mounds were found exposed at the seabed. The coral mounds are nowadays characterized by an almost complete lack of living cold-water corals. In addition, numerous buried mounds were identified in hydroacoustic sub-bottom profiles, and are estimated to be similar to 3.7 times more frequent than the exposed mounds. Consequently, a total of similar to 16,000 buried and exposed mounds is estimated for the entire study area. The exposed mounds are rather small with a mean height of 18 m and show a conspicuous arrangement in two slope-parallel belts that centre in water depths between 720 and 870 m and 890-980 m, respectively, putting them among the deepest mound occurrences discovered so far in the Atlantic. The mostly elongated mounds largely stretch downslope pointing to a significant influence of internal waves in the mound formation process. Moreover, based on their average dimensions, the entire coral mound volume can be estimated as 1.3 km(3), which means the mounds store a considerable amount of coral carbonate highlighting their potentially important role as regional carbonate factories. In combination with further occurrences of coral mounds along the Moroccan margin, both in the Mediterranean and in the Atlantic Ocean, these new findings underline Morocco's role as a hotspot for the occurrence of cold-water coral mounds.},
  author       = {Hebbeln, Dierk and Bender, Maren and Gaide, Stefanie and Titschack, Jürgen and Vandorpe, Thomas and Van Rooij, David and Wintersteller, Paul and Wienberg, Claudia},
  issn         = {0025-3227},
  journal      = {MARINE GEOLOGY},
  keywords     = {Cold-water corals,Coral mounds,NW African margin,Internal waves,Carbonate budget   KeyWords Plus:HIGH-RESOLUTION BATHYMETRY,MUD VOLCANO PROVINCE,CARBONATE MOUNDS,SOUTHERN GULF,DEEP-WATER,ROCKALL TROUGH,BOUNDARY-CONDITIONS,PORCUPINE SEABIGHT,LOPHELIA-PERTUSA,CHALLENGER MOUND},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {51--61},
  title        = {Thousands of cold-water coral mounds along the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin : distribution and morphometry},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2019.02.001},
  volume       = {411},
  year         = {2019},
}

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