The mesoscale sediment transport due to technical activities in the deep sea

J.A. Jankowski and W. Zielke

Abstract. This paper presents a mesoscale model for sediment transport in the deep sea resulting from technical activities such as manganese nodule mining. The model includes the temporal variability of ambient currents, the modification of the water density due to suspended sediments (density driven flow), bottom boundary-layer effects, and the influence of flocculation on the sediment settling velocity. It yields the three-dimensional sediment concentration and the bottom blanketing for time periods of up to a few weeks in areas of up to a few hundred square kilometers. The model also allows simulation of the mobilization, sorption and the transport of heavy metals. Two applications are presented. One treats the sediment transport during the NOAA Benthic Impact Experiment. The other is concerned with dispersion of heavy metals, including the interaction with suspended sediment in the Disturbance and Recolonization Experiment Experimental Area. The model is highly sophisticated with regard to the processes and numerical methods. Nevertheless, a final conclusion concerning the quantification of its prognostic capability for industrial scale operations cannot presently be drawn because of the lack of complete and coherent data sets.

The manuscript (not the paper) can be obtained as a PDF file. Copyright 2001 Elsevier Science. Also in local repository (password).

Reference: Jankowski, J.A. and Zielke, W. (2001) The mesoscale sediment transport due to technical activities in the deep sea. Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 48(17-18), 3487-3521. doi:10.1016/S0967-0645(01)00054-6,

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Rolinski S, Segschneider J and Sündermann J. (2001) Long-term propagation of tailings from deep-sea mining under variable conditions by means of numerical simulations, Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 48 (17–18), 3469-3485. doi:10.1016/10.1016/S0967-0645(01)00053-4, local.