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  • From 24th November 1998 to 24th February 1999 BGR in cooperation with YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales) and SHN (Servicio de Hidrografía Naval) conducted three seismic surveys along the passive continental margin of Argentine. The seismic vessel M/V Akademik Lazarev which is operated by SMNG (Sevmorneftegeofizika) was used for these cruises. Although the seafloor spreading history of the South Atlantic Ocean is very well defined, the development of the continental margins poses still great problems to a profound understanding. When break-up of Gondwana started in Middle Jurassic, South Africa and South America remained connected. Their break-up started in Early Cretaceous, possibly propagating from south to north. Before break-up, huge tholeiitic flood basalts were extruded near the future rift, namely the Paraná basalts in Brazil and the Etendeka basalts in Namibia. It is likely that these basalts are caused by a large mantle plume. As the flood basalts were predecessors to the break-up, often a causal relationship is assumed. The dipping reflector sequences along large parts of the continental margins of South America and South Africa are interpreted as indications of the plume influence. Investigations along many passive margins have meanwhile shown that dipping reflector sequences exist along most of them. These so-called volcanic margins are the normal ones, the non-volcanic margins are the exception. For many years, it had been assumed that the hydrocarbon potential of volcanic margins is very low. The discovery of the Kudu gas field has demonstrated that this assumption is not valid in general. This increases our interest in continuing the investigation of volcanic passive margins and the variability of their structure along strike. BGR has carried out already two marine geophysical cruises off Argentina, namely with M/V EXPLORA in 1985 and with FS SONNE in 1993. These surveys had shown locally the existence of threefold dipping reflector sequences (Hinz et al., 1999). Furthermore, it had turned out that not everywhere they are accompanied by the strong magnetic G anomaly (Rabinowitz & LaBrecque, 1979). The main objectives of the BGR98 cruise were: (1) Investigation and mapping of the zone of the seaward dipping reflectors (SDR) (reflection + refraction seismic) (2) Investigation of the sedimentary column within this zone (reflection seismic) (3) Setting up a seismostratigraphy based on the seismic records obtained during the cruise and the information from the previous cruises (BGR87, SO85) as well as on additional well information (4) Comparison of the argentine seismic data with seismic data of the conjugate volcanic margin off Namibia (BGR 87). The study area is located offshore Argentine, extending from about 37° 20' S to 45° 40' S and from about 61° 10' W to 52° 00' W. It comprises the Colorado Basin as well as the outermost shelf, slope and rise of the continental margin with water depths up to 5000 m.

  • The northwestern Australian continental margin can be considered as a passive continental margin of the rifted atlantic type (Whitworth 1969; Powell 1973, 1976; Falvey 1974; Veevers 1974; Willcox 1974, 1976; Exon et al. 1975) which are usually associated with heavy accumulation of sediments (Beck et al. 1974) and are therefore of interest for hydrocarbon exploration in the longer term. The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR, Hannover, Germany) has conducted geoscientific surveys at various continental margins of the Atlantic Ocean in the past years (Seibold 1972; Hinz et al. 1973; Seibold, Hinz 1974/1976; Seibold et al. 1975; Roeser et al. 1971) and the marine research programme of the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology & Geophysics (BMR, Canberra, Australia) is putting the focal point as well on the survey of the continental margins. Hence in the frame of the Australian-German contract of scientific and technical cooperation, BGR has proposed joint geoscientific surveys of the continental margins with the German research vessel VALDIVIA. The Scott-Plateau (NW-Australia) has been chosen as investigation area because BMR has carried out geophysical overview measurements previously in that region. The survey has been planned with the main focus on the geological processes at the early rift stadium and the set of problems about the "transition of oceanic to continental crust". The following regional geological units are known: the archaic-proterozoic Kimberley shield is followed by the Browse Basin - a NE striking epicontinental basin filled with mesozoic and tertiary sediments showing a thickness of up to 10 km (Powell 1976). It is presumed that the Browse Basin is delimitated by the Scott Plateau. Presumably, the Scott Plateau consists of continental crust which thins out to the north in direction to the Argo Abyssal Plain. The development of the Browse Basin is ascribed to a series of rift processes in the late paleozoic and triassic age where gas condensates have been detected at the drill hole Scott Reef 1. The contemporary configuration of the NW-Australian basins and the NW-Australian continental margin has been formed by an important middle jurassic rift phase and a subsequent drift phase. The cruises VA16-2A from 6th to the 25th of February 1977 with geophysical measurements and VA16-2B from 25th of February to 9th of March 1977 with geological sample recovery should clarify these processes. The working area of cruise VA16-2C from 11th to 23rd of March 1977 has been the Timor Trough and the Savu Sea which separate the islands Timor, Roti, Savu and Sumba from the volcanic islands of the inner Banda island arc. The crustal structure of Sumba, of the Savu Sea and of the inner Banda island arc near Flores should be investigated with seismic methods (small explosive charges fired from the research vessel VALDIVIA in the Savu Sea and intended recording units of the Flinders University on the islands Savu, Sumba and Flores) as well as with sonobuoy stations of BGR. Newer investigations (Audley Charles 1975, Chamalaun 1974) suggest that the islands of the Banda island arc (Sumba, Savu, Roti, Timor etc.) represent the northern border of the Australian continent being underlain by the crust of the Australian continent as opposed to the assumption of other investigators (e.g. Beck and Lehner 1974) who presume the northern border of the Australian continent at the Timor Trough south of the Timor island and postulate a subduction zone between the outer Banda island arc and Australia. BMR has provided 9 tons of explosives (Nitramon) with accessories for refraction seismics. The Flinders University has prepared 7 on-shore recording units and sent to Indonesia together with operating staff. BGR conducted the marine seismic work with explosive charges and off-shore recordings with sonobuoys for refraction seismic as well as reflection seismic, gravimetric and magnetic measurements.

  • During cruise BGR79 from 29th June to 3rd September 1979 the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) carried out marine seismic reflection surveys in the three separate areas of the North Atlantic Ocean (Norwegian Sea, Scotian Basin, and U.S. East Coast Area) with S.V. EXPLORA. Simultaneously gravity, magnetic and reflection seismic data were recorded on parts of the lines. In addition, 66 sono-buoys were deployed for seismic refraction data recording on various seismic lines in all three areas. A detailed survey in the Norwegian Sea took place in the time from 29th June to 15th July, 1979 between the southern Vøring Plateau, the Jan Mayen Fracture Zone, the Møre Basin and the Faeroe-Shetland escarpment during leg 1 of cruise BGR79. The data showed that the Møre Basin contains a small sub-basin in the western part, the West-Shetland Basin. Further seaward, an outer high as well as a zone of intrusions were imaged.

  • The results of the 1978 SONNE survey by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), in the Coral Sea indicated the presence of narrow rift valleys beneath the outer margins of the Queensland and Papuan Plateaus. On the margins of these valleys, features were observed which were then interpreted to be large fossil reefs underlying an Eocene/Oligocene unconformity. These conclusions were important because they indicated that the Coral Sea Basin region is ideal for research into the fundamental problems concerning the development of continental margins. That is, the region offers similar problems to areas of the world where detailed studies are currently being conducted (e.g. West African margin) but with less complicated superimposed structure and a much thinner sediment cover. During the period from 29th November 1980 to 9th January 1981 a 'follow up' survey on the first and second leg of cruise SO-16 using the R/V SONNE was carried out in the northern Coral Sea, around the margins of the Coral Sea Basin, by the BGR in co-operation with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Canberra (BMR) and the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby (GSPNG). The survey, which was divided into a geophysical cruise (first leg of SO-16) and a geological sampling cruise (second leg of SO-16), resulted in the recording of about 7,140 km of bathymetric and gravimetric data, of about 6,950 km of magnetic data, 3,150 km of digital multichannel seismic reflection profiles, 3,560 km of analogue single channel seismic reflection profiles, 10 sonobuoy refraction profiles and the sampling of 16 stations by dredging and 9 by coring. In the period from 9th January to 6th February 1981, geophysical investigations on the 3rd leg of SONNE cruise SO-16 were carried out in the Arafura Sea between Tanimbar, Aru and Kai Islands, and in the southern part of the Makassar Strait by BGR in co-operation with the Geological Research and Development Centre, Dept. Mines and Energy of Indonesia, Bandung and the Indonesian lnstitute of Sciences (LIPI), Bandung. 4,060 km of bathymetric and gravity lines, 3,080 km of magnetic lines, 1,415 km of reflection seismic lines (digital and analogue), and 9 sonobuoy profiles were recorded during this leg. Objectives of the Arafura Sea survey were determination of (a) thickness, seismic pattern, tectonic style and subsidence of the Cenozoic/Mesozoic depositional sequences at the transition from the Australian continental shelf to the Tanimbar outer arc ridge and (b) the configuration of the Precambrian rocks of the above mentioned transition zone. Objectives of the Makassar Strait survey were determination of (a) the nature and configuration of the acoustic basement underlying the South Makassar Basin, (b) the formation and nature of the sediments overlying the acoustic basement, (c) the regional distribution of a major unconformity of assumed Middle Miocene age as observed on profile VA16-24 of the VALDIVIA cruise VA-16 in 1977 in order to get a better understanding of the development of the South Makassar Basin.

  • The area of the 1st leg of METEOR cruise no. 67 lies off the Moroccan coast between longitudes 32.5°N and 35°N and latitude 12°W. Within this continental margin segment multichannel reflection seismic measurements were carried out in parallel with magnetic and gravimetric measurements on 22 lines with a total length of 4,378 km during the period from January 20th to February 13th 1984, with the research objectives: i) to collect new geophysical data for a better understanding of magmatic-volcanic and tectonic processes during the initial drifting phase, and ii) to search for suitable positions for deep drilling sites of the "Ocean Drilling Programme" in the transition zone between continental and oceanic crust. A distinct and sharp reflection seismic boundary running from about 31°30'N/11°W in the south to 34°30'N/10°25'W in the north separates flat-lying Mesozoic sediments overlying slightly structured basement of the Jurassic "Magnetic Quiet Zone" from the complex Moroccan piercement zone in the east. A prominent magnetic anomaly, called S1, is nearly coincident with the sharp reflection seismic boundary, and is thought to represent most probably the initial drifting zone. The Moroccan piercement zone is interpreted to represent the eastern part of a pre-Jurassic rift-basin which conjugated western part lies off Nova Scotia/Canada. Subsidence associated with small-scale rotational block-faulting was time-transgressive in the Moroccan piercement zone, e.g. it started in Triassic time in the central part of the rift-basin and affected successively its landward parts apparently due to successively cooling of the stretched and thinned crust. Weak magnetic anomalies trending approximately NE-SW were recorded within the Jurassic "Magnetic Quiet Zone" lying west of magnetic anomaly S1. These anomalies can be correlated over distances of up to 300 km. They are interpreted to represent either variations of the geomagnetic field intensity or field reversals during a time of weak geomagnetic field.

  • During the second leg of cruise BGR78 from 22th of February to 29th of March 1978 with R/V EXPLORA the following measurements have been carried out as presite- and postsite surveys of DSDP sites: (1) in the region of the eastern Walvis Ridge 4,350 km multichannel seismic reflection profiles, 4,540 km magnetic measurements, 5,000 km gravimetric measurements and sonobuoy refraction measurements on 11 stations (2) on the Guinea Plateau 740 km multichannel seismic reflection profiles in parallel with gravimetric and magnetic measurements (3) between Cape Verde islands and Mauretania 980 km multichannel seismic reflection profiles in parallel with magnetic measurements, 1,480 km gravimetric measurements and sonobuoy refraction measurements on 2 stations. The geophysical measurements show that the structure of the Walvis Ridge is determined by two main tectonic directions (WSW-ENE and SSW-NNE). Presumably the genesis of the fracture zone in the Walvis Ridge area can be traced back to the sea-floor spreading with overprinting effects due to an inhomogeneity in the mantle ("hot spot"). Both DSDP drilling projects in this part of the Walvis Ridge led to a fragmentary knowledge because site 362 got stuck at a depth of 1.100 m in the Oligocene. BGR's measurements indicate a gap of at least 1.000 m of sediments, especially from the cretaceous period, down to the (acoustic) basement. Site 363 at a submarine high has gaps in the depositional sequence and stops at a depth of 700 m shortly above the basement. So for a better understanding of the geologic development of the Walvis Ridge, further DSDP drillings with a recovery of the complete sedimentary sequence and the following basement cores are necessary. Therefore BGR's measurements of this cruise propose new DSDP sites.

  • During leg 3 of cruise SO81, starting in Caldera/Costa Rica at September 15th and ending in Balboa/Panama at September 28th, 1992, the first 48-channel seismic survey was carried out in the Hess Deep area as a German contribution of pre-site investigations for Leg 147 of the Ocean Drilling Programme. ODP Leg 147 is designed to drill the crust-mantle transition. During leg SO81/3 the BGR collected 662 km of seismic data and in addition gravity and hydroacoustic measurements were carried out. Profile SO81-HD001 runs W-E from and to 1 Ma old oceanic crust across the East Pacific Rise. The profiles SO81-HD002 to SO81-HD007 are located in the proper Hess Deep area passing onto the proposed drill sites. Preliminary on-board evaluation of the seismic monitor records gives a lot of interesting intracrustal reflection events which deserve more elaborate examination after proper processing of the seismic data.

  • The preceding results of the Deep Sea Drilling Project/International Program of Ocean Drilling (DSDP/IPOD) have shown that inspection of borehole cores in the Southern Ocean and around Antarctica are necessary for reconstruction of the development of the Atlantic Ocean and for the understanding of the sedimentary deposition which is strongly affected by the palaeo-oceanographic processes. As the geological development of the Weddell Sea plays a key role for the reconstruction of the south-american and african part of the former supercontinent Gondwana, the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) has decided to conduct a synoptic geophysical survey in the eastern Weddell Sea and in front of the eastern Antarctic continental margin. This survey has been designed as a prearrangement for a larger "presite" program for preparation of future DSDP/IPOD sites. The main focus of the geophysical survey during the first leg of cruise BGR78 from 5th of January to 13th of February 1978 with M.S. EXPLORA has been put on the continental margin of the south-eastern Weddell Sea and eastern Antarctica between 20°E and 30°W and south of 67°S. Especially the lines BGR78-03 to BGR78-23 of seismic reflection measurements have been carried out in this region which were affected by heavy ice conditions at this time. Additionally, on 43 stations sonobuoy refraction measurements have been conducted.

  • The initial study area of the cruise MSM14/2 GeoNORM (Geophysik im noerdlichen Roten Meer) was the northern Red Sea. However, because of not given research permissions from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the study area had to be changed to the alternative study area Eratosthenes Seamount (ESM), south of Cyprus. The ESM is supposed to represent a continental fragment of the former African-Arabian Plate that is entering the subduction zone south of Cyprus i.e. the subduction turns into collision in the area of the ESM. This changed the entire tectonic setting in the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, the tectonic evolution of the area is rather complex with phases of extension, subduction, compression, salt tectonics and gravitational processes and not comprehensively understood. Because of the isolation of the ESM as a continental fragment this region is an ideal spot to investigate the transition from regular subduction to continental collision and its associated tectonic processes i.e. faults were activated or reactivated, transform motion has to be compensated, the overriding plate has been elevated. This impacts the ongoing geological and tectonic processes in this region but also influences the social and economic life in the Eastern Mediterranean as earthquakes and submarine landslides are possible geohazards and the entering of the ESM to the subduction trench alters the thermal history of the adjacent sedimentary basins significantly what should have an influence on the maturity processes within the source rock sediments and new faults open new migration paths for hydrocarbon fluids or gases.

  • On the first leg of SONNE cruise SO-36 in the period from 11th February to 12th March 1985, geophysical investigations have been carried out on the Lord Howe Rise off eastern Australia by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) in co-operation with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Canberra. A total of 3,660 km of digital seismic reflection profiles, 6,740 km of gravity, magnetics, multibeam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler profiles, as well as 8 sonobuoy refraction profiles were recorded during this survey. A geomagnetic monitoring station of the BGR was operated during a part of the cruise on Lord Howe Island under the supervision of the BMR. These measurements provided a detailed picture of the structures of the survey area of the Lord Howe Rise. The samples proved that the Lord Howe Rise and the Dampier Ridge west of it consist of continental crust. Indications for structures rich in hydrocarbons were not observed. The 2nd and 3rd leg of SONNE cruise SO-36 were designed to investigate the structure, geological development and hydrocarbon potential of two frontier areas, the western and southwestern continental margin of Tasmania and the South Tasman Rise. On the 2nd leg (12.03.-12.04.1985) multichannel seismic reflection measurements were carried out in parallel with magnetic, gravimetric, sea-beam and 3.5 kHz subbottom profiler measurements on 19 lines with a total length of 3,820 km. In addition, 2,140 km were surveyed with magnetics, gravity meter, sea-beam and 3.5 kHz subbottom profiler in transit from and to Sydney, respectively. On the 3rd leg, which started in Sydney on 12th April 1985 and ended in Suva/Fiji one month later, 63 stations were sampled by dredging and coring with the aim (a) to provide lithology and biostratigraphic information about the seismic sequences mapped during leg 2, and (b) to obtain geochemical evidence of hydrocarbon generation from the character of gases absorbed onto the surficial sediment. Samples came from 33 stations off Western Tasmania, from 23 stations on the South Tasman Rise, and from 7 stations in the region of the Lord Howe Rise and the Dampier Ridge. In transit to the sampling sites, 11 single channel seismic lines with a total length of 470 km were surveyed, and in addition, 4,230 km were surveyed with magnetics, gravity meter, sea-beam, and subbottom profiler. Seven regional seismic unconformities were recognized and sampled, and the structural style of both areas was established. Thermogenic hydrocarbons in substantial concentration were found in the surface sediments at the western Tasmanian slope.

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