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Support of Gulf of Mexico Hydrate Research Consortium: Activities to Support Establishment of a Sea Floor Monitoring Station Project. Progress Report: October 2005-March 2006

Description: The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium (GOM-HRC) was established in 1999 to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research. The Consortium is administered by the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET, at the University of Mississippi. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station or sea floor observatory (MS/SFO) on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2007, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission, although unavoidably delayed by hurricanes and other disturbances, necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the marine environment, including sea water and sea-floor sediments, on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. In 2005, biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health was added to the mission of the MS/SFO. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in the arena of gas hydrates research. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. The observatory has now achieved a microbial dimension in addition to the geophysical and geochemical components it had already included. Initial components of the observatory, a probe that collects pore-fluid samples and another that records sea floor temperatures, were deployed in Mississippi Canyon 118 in May of 2005. Follow-up deployments, planned for fall 2005, had to be postponed due to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina (and later, Rita) on the Gulf Coast. Every effort was made to locate and retain the services of a suitable vessel and submersibles or Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) following the storms and the loss of the contracted …
Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: Woolsey, J. Robert; McGee, Tom; Lutken, Carol & Stidham, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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