The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) simply concluded a profitable three-week information acquisition expedition on the Mohn’s ridge within the western a part of the Norwegian Sea. The Mohn’s ridge is a seafloor spreading ridge, separating two oceanic plates between Greenland and the Norwegian Sea. The goal of the expedition was to research the doable existence of mineral useful resource deposits on this space. The NPD has recognized a big space of sulphide minerals, that was beforehand unknown. The deposits might embrace essential industrial metals resembling copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, vanadium, wolfram and silver.
The NPD has been assigned the duty of proving and mapping deep sea minerals after the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy was given administrative accountability for mineral deposits on the Norwegian continental shelf.
During this 12 months’s expedition, the NPD surveyed an space of 90 km x 35 km centrally positioned over the spreading ridge, the place water depths range between 1200 and 3500 metres. The expedition was carried out with the Seabed Worker vessel, which is owned by Swire Seabed AS.
NPD geologist Jan Stenløkk participated within the voyage. He tells us that the mapping was carried out utilizing an autonomous underwater automobile, Kongsberg Hugin AUV, which mapped the seabed in lengthy corridors, totalling 750 kilometres. The AUV was geared up with a number of sensors, together with seabed penetrating echo sounders. Other kinds of information collected embrace multibeam bathymetry, artificial aperture sonar information, magnetometry and spontaneous potential area information. The AUV was operated by Ocean Floor Geophysics.
“Areas the place these information indicated doable mineral deposits have been examined utilizing a distant operated automobile, also referred to as an ROV, and enormous volumes of picture and video materials have been acquired. A lot of mineral samples have been additionally collected,” says Stenløkk.
The seawater penetrates deep into the seabed, is heated to greater than 400 levels by underlying magma chambers, and dissolves many minerals. The heat seawater is flushed again out to the seabed by way of so-called “black people who smoke” the place the minerals are precipitated involved with the chilly seawater. When the magma chambers shift as a result of spreading between the plates, the flushing of the nice and cozy water stops, and the black people who smoke collapse and in the end find yourself as piles of gravel on the seabed.
The new space of sulphide minerals that was found incorporates many such piles of gravel and collapsed black people who smoke, together with a 26-metre excessive, non-active tower, along with some energetic methods. The mineral samples taken from these piles of gravel will now bear a number of analyses. All mapping information from the AUV sensors may also be processed and interpreted. (Source and picture: NPD – Sonar picture of the Mohn’s ridge seafloor)

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