Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds
Deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining research activity has substantially increased in recent years, but the expected level of environmental impact is still being established. One environmental concern is the discharge of a sediment plume into the midwater column. We performed a dedicated field study using sediment from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. The plume was monitored and tracked using both established and novel instrumentation, including acoustic and turbulence measurements. Our field studies reveal that modeling can reliably predict the properties of a midwater plume in the vicinity of the discharge and that sediment aggregation effects are not significant. The plume model is used to drive a numerical simulation of a commercial-scale operation in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Key takeaways are that the scale of impact of the plume is notably influenced by the values of environmentally acceptable threshold levels, the quantity of discharged sediment, and the turbulent diffusivity in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds|
|Series title||Communications Earth & Environment|
|Contributing office(s)||Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center|
|Description||148, 16 p.|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|