The NOC Marine Geoscience group undertakes multi-disciplinary studies of seafloor and sub-seafloor environments throughout the World’s oceans, from the poles to the tropics and from the coast to the deepest trench. The group has an international reputation for research excellence based on technical innovation and the application of those techniques to applied research in marine science. By integrating cutting-edge technology with advanced mapping and observational techniques, NOC geoscientists are able to address major societal and environmental issues across the World's oceans.
- The group is increasingly utilising cutting-edge technology, with tools such as Autosub6000 and ROV Isis enabling high-resolution mapping of geological and biological hotspots, e.g. hydrothermal vent systems, submarine canyons and giant landslides.
- These mapping data are combined with in situ monitoring to provide information on geochemical and biological fluxes at a variety of spatio-temporal scales, from climate-driven dissociation of gas hydrates to anthropogenic impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
- Integration of empirical observations and numerical/experimental modelling provides new insight into processes such as pore fluid migration and landslide-tsunami generation.
- These studies all contribute vital information to a range of topical marine issues, including sustainable resource exploitation, geohazard assessment, spatial conservation measures and ocean governance.
Recent achievements include discovering the World’s deepest hydrothermal vents, mapping the World’s largest submarine sediment gravity flows, and assessing the impacts of deep-sea trawling on vulnerable cold-water coral communities. Major ongoing NERC and EU projects include study of the role of arctic methane hydrate dissociation on climate change and slope stability, assessment of potential hazards associated with volcanic island landslides (including the first-ever IODP drilling of these landslides), monitoring of CO2 seepage from sub-seabed storage reservoirs, and application of advanced mapping techniques for seafloor habitat characterization.