The Ligurian region has an active, if diffuse, seismicity (Béthoux et al., 2008). The continental slope is particularly narrow and steep, and rivers flow directly from nearby alpine reliefs. This promotes slope instability and the formation of submarine canyons. The Var canyon, offshore from Nice, is one of the most active in Europe, with turbidity currents that transfer large volumes of continent-derived material directly to the abyssal plain (Piper and Savoye, 1993). Water masses from the Tyrrhenian Sea, carried to the west by the Ligurian current (Crépon and Boukthir, 1987; Conan and Millot, 1995), meets and exchanges with waters from the Gulf of Lion in the Ligurian Sea. Changes in the intermediate and deep water masses have been interpreted as signals of changes in the deep-sea water formation in the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and of local climate changes (Smith et al., 2008; Marty and Chiaverini, 2010). The Ligurian Sea is also strongly influenced by atmospheric inputs triggering changes in biomass production (Marty et al., 2002). These specific conditions make the Ligurian region a unique location for a multidisciplinary long-term eulerian monitoring.
Scientific features at the Ligurian site:
- Slope failure processes on a steep continental slope
- Turbidity currents in submarine canyons and their force factors
- Seismic hazard, tsunami generation and the impact of seismicity on continental slope stability
- Marine biodiversity and life in deep oceanic environments
- Lateral and vertical dynamics of water masses and their impact on biochemical budgets
- Fluxes of organic matter through the water column, their impact on regional carbon budgets
Geographical location of the EMSO cabled and buoyed observatory infrastructures:
- ODAS Côte d'Azur buoy, presently operated by Météo France.
- Var canyon experiment (2A).
- DYFAMED long term mooring (2B).
- EMSO-Nice cabled observatory (2C).
- SJB cabled add on extension to the neutrino telescope ANTARES (2D) to be moved to MEUST in 2017 (2E).
- ALBATROSS additional extension to the neutrino telescope moved from ANTARES to MEUST (2E).
Bethoux, N., Tric, E., Chery, J. & Beslier, M.O., 2008. Why is the Ligurian Basin (Mediterranean Sea) seismogenic? Thermomechanical modeling of a reactivated passive margin, Tectonics, 27.
CONAN P; MILLOT C , 1995. VARIABILITY OF THE NORTHERN CURRENT OFF MARSEILLES, WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN-SEA, FROM FEBRUARY TO JUNE 1992 OCEANOLOGICA ACTA Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Pages: 193-205
Crépon, M. , M. Boukthir, EFFECT OF DEEP-WATER FORMATION ON THE CIRCULATION OF THE LIGURIAN SEA Ann. Geophys. 5B (1987) 43.
Marty J-C. and Chiaverini J. Hydrological changes in the Ligurian Sea (NW Mediterranean,DYFAMED site) during 1995–2007 and biogeochemical consequences, 2010.Biogeosciences, 7, 2117–2128.
Marty J-C., Chiaverini J., Pizay, M.D., and Avril B., 2002. Seasonal and interannual dynamics of nutrients and phytoplankton pigments in the western Mediterranean Sea at the DYFAMED timeseries station (1991-1999). DEEP-SEA RESEARCH PART II-TOPICAL STUDIES IN OCEANOGRAPHY Vol.49 ,11,1965-1985
Millot, C., Candela, J., Fuda, J. L., and Tber, Y. , 2006. Large warming and salinification of the Mediterranean outflow due to changes in its composition, Deep Sea Res. I, 53, 656–666.
Piper, D.J.W. & Savoye, B., 1993. Processes of late quaternary turbidity-current flow and deposition on the Var deep-sea fan, north-west Mediterranean-sea, Sedimentology, 40, 557-582.
Smith, R. O., Bryden, H. L., and Stansfield, K. , 2008. Observations of new western Mediterranean deep water formation using Argo floats 2004–2006, Ocean Sci., 4, 133–149, doi:10.5194/os-4-133-2008.