Unconventional Carbonate Factories

This project aims to investigate the Palmahim Disturbance offshore Israel as natural laboratory by carrying out the methodic comparative investigation of deep-sea corals (CWCs), seep systems and methane-derived authigenic carbonates. The importance of this research topic was recognized by the European Union, which funded in 2016 the EU EuroFLEETS2 SEMSEEP cruise on the RV Aegeo. The cruise was carried out in September 2016, jointly organized by the Universities of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Haifa (Israel), with support of Greek and Cypriot scientists has provided a large number of samples from CWCs and seeps from the Palmahim Disturbance. The project focusses on (i) habitat mapping, (ii) geochemical analyses of waters (water column, pore water in cores), (iii) sediment characterization including petrography and geochemistry on surface, core samples and carbonate crusts, (iv) macro- and micro-fauna/fossils, and (v) coupled experimental diagenetic studies in the laboratory to address the key question if there exist any causal link between CWC ecosystems and cold seeps in the Eastern Mediterranean or if it has been in the recent geological past.