MARIA S. MERIAN was damaged while it was lying at the pier by a ferry boat leaving the harbour of Limassol. The repair lasted 12 days which significantly reduced the available ship time. Owing to the political situation in the eastern Mediterranean realm our research was limited to the area south of Cyprus. Consequently, we had to adjust the original research plan as outlined in the original scientific program to the newly defined working area and limited ship time.
The study area of cruise MSM14/3 is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, representing an active plate-tectonic setting where incipient continent-continent collision between Cyprus and the Eratosthenes seamount (ESM) was initiated in early Pleistocene. The main objective of this project is to gain a quantitative understanding of the impact of incipient continent-continent collision both on the involved crustal blocks and on the sedimentary cover in the area south of Cyprus.
In order to investigate tectonic processes on a crustal scale, four wide-angle reflection / refraction seismic profiles (WARRPS) were collected. These profiles were shot across the two most prominent bathymetric features of the study area - the ESM and the Hecataeus Rise. One profile is part of an amphibian profile that crosses Cyprus and southern Turkey. The onshore activities were organized by our colleagues from GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. Strong refracted arrivals from the crust-mantle boundary were recorded and will subsequently be used for modelling the crustal structure of the target areas. Furthermore, acquisition of gravity, magnetic and magnetotelluric data will allow additional conclusions regarding the nature and origin of crustal blocks south of Cyprus.
More than 2300 km of seismic reflection and PARASOUND data were acquired during Leg 3 together with approx. 17 000 km² of multi-beam bathymetric data. Multi-channel profiles show a variety of post-Messinian sedimentary processes whereas PARASOUND data provide detailed insight into the Pliocene to recent sediment cover. First onboard results reveal a complex interaction between compressional tectonics and sediment deformation such as faulting, folding and salt diapirism. These processes are frequently accompanied by fluid migration and mud volcanism. Changes in seafloor morphology affect bottom current erosion and deposition as indicated by moat channels and contourite deposits at the flanks of prominent bathymetric highs.
Christian Huebscher (University of Hamburg Institute of Geophysics)