Geodata about the seabed is needed to build infrastructures
When the plan is to build an offshore wind farm or build a submarine gas pipeline, it is necessary to understand the soil type and building capacity of the seabed. For example, when working on sea lanes, it is important to know whether the depth of the lane can be increased by dredging or blasting rock.
The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) project, coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), responds to needs for information by compiling and standardising information about soil types at seabeds in Europe and the sedimentation rates of matter accumulating to the seabed. The project compiled soil type maps produced by GTK of seabeds in Europe on scale 1:100,000 that depict the topmost seabed layer. These maps are now ready. The material offers a representative overview of the distribution of soil types at the seabed, on the basis of which it is possible to deduct the building capacity of the seabed.
Maps of bedrock layers at the seabed, coastal processes, geological risks and natural resources at the seabed will also be produced on scale 1:100,000. Natural resources at the seabed include metallic minerals and rock material, as well as hydrocarbons in sedimentary rock in the bedrock layer, i.e. oil and gas.
In the third phase of the ongoing EMODnet project, the aim is to compile map material on a much more accurate scale than the current 1:100,000 as background material for future needs. When the project ends in spring 2019, all material on scale 1:100,000 and finer will be freely available to all.
Detailed marine environment planning is more important than ever before, as marine environments are used more than before and any overlapping needs of users may result in conflicts. In 2009, the European Commission launched the EMODnet project to provide decision-makers and users of marine environments with relevant information about for instance geology, biology and chemistry at seabeds.
In addition, information about submerged landscapes on European coastlines is collected as a new work package. This includes information about natural formations left under water as a result of the sea level rise, such as ancient watercourses dating back thousands of years, residential and hunting areas and submerged archaeological sites.
The total budget of the two-year EMODnet Geology project funded by the European Commission and coordinated by GTK is EUR 4.5 million. The project involves 39 organisations from 30 countries, most of which are national geological survey institutions. The third phase started in spring 2017 and has now reached the halfway mark.
Henry Vallius, Geological Survey of Finland, EMODnet Geology project coordinator, tel. +358 29 503 2573, firstname.lastname@example.org
EMODnet Geology scheme: www.emodnet-geology.eu
EMODnet scheme: www.emodnet.eu