Expedition with RV SONNE: Ecological impacts of deep-sea mining

Expedition MANGAN 2018 is the ninth cruise of the BGR to the German license area for the exploration of manganese nodules.

RV SONNE cruise SO 262 has three major aims. Firstly, a new prospective manganese nodule field in a water depth of 4100 meters and with a spatial extent of 900 square kilometers will be explored in the eastern part of the license area. Secondly, the BGR plans to recover at least 10 tons of manganese nodules for metallurgical experiments at pilot plant scale. Thirdly, in preparation for a disturbance experiment scheduled for April/May 2019 in the German license area, high-resolution baseline environmental data are required specifically from the test area.

The investigations include:

  1. detailed studies of the benthic biodiversity,
  2. measurements of metal concentrations in (sub)bottom waters,
  3. the mooring of three ADCP current meters for analysis of the bottom current regime until April 2019, and
  4. the mooring of a sediment trap for one year in order to determine background particle fluxes in this mesotrophic part of the Pacific Ocean.

Furthermore, we plan to continue our time series sampling for biodiversity analyses in two reference areas, for which annual samples have already been collected between 2013 and 2016.


Expedition at a glance:

Research topic: Manganese nodules in the German license area
Wissenschaftliche Leitung der Fahrt: Dr. Carsten Rühlemann, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR)
Duration: April 5, 2018 - May 29, 2018
Departure: Guayaquil (Ecuador)
Return: Suva (Fidschi)