Azores Plateau - Cruise No. M113/1 - December 29, 2014 - January 22, 2015 - Ponta Delgada (Portugal) - Ponta Delgada (Portugal) (English)

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The research program aimed on the in-depth understanding the volcano-tectonic evolution of the Azores plateau and associated geo-hazards such as submarine landslides and volcanic surges. Oceanic plateaus like the Azores plateau are large areas of anomalously thick crust forming large bathymetric swells in the ocean basins and their petrological formation and subsequent sedimentological evolution is only poorly understood. The reason for the magmatic and volcanic activity that built the igneous part of the Azores Plateau is intensely debated. As in other places of the world deep, hot mantle plumes are believed to cause the magmatism due to their high excess temperature. According to an alternative model volcanism is explained by excess melting of the mantle due to an elevated volatile content. In addition, the structural evolution of the plateau and the relationship between rifting and volcanism particularly in the Azores is a matter of active scientific debate. It is suggested that an oblique spreading axis jumped incrementally from the East Azores Fracture Zone towards the north-east. The Terceira rift axis represents the present stage and the recent plate boundary between the Eurasian and African plates. In addition, recurrence rate, trigger mechanisms, volumes, and transport processes of large scale mass wasting events are amongst the scientific questions targeted. Multi-beam and seismic data will provide the crucial site-survey data for ROV sampling during a future research cruise. The micro- and nano-plastic concentration within the surface water will be measured by geochemical analyses of water sampled during the cruise.