6th Training-through-Research Cruise

The ANAXIPROBE/TTR-6 Cruise of the R/V Gelendzhik was carried out in July-August 1996. Sixty scientists and students from seven countries took part in this marine expedition. The main objectives of the cruise included the investigation of the origin, morphology, and neotectonics of the Anaximander Mountains in the northeastern Mediterranean Sea (as a continuation of the Dutch ANAXIPROBE-95 Programme), and the study of the shallow structure and possible fluid venting in the Black Sea, on the Crimean continental margin and in the Pallas Uplift area, off the Kerch Strait.

A secondary objective of the cruise embraced bathymctric mapping, with a multibeam echosounder, of parts of the Mediterranean Ridge, of the mud volcano area in the central Black Sea, and of the Russian economic zone in the eastern Black Sea. Dredging and coring on the Anaximander Mountains have conclusively proven that this part of the Mediterranean seafioor is a prolongation of the Bey Daglari and Antalya Nappes Complex of mainland Turkey, The area is very active tectonically. Several mud volcanoes, which were inferred from remote sea floor observations, were confirmed by sampling; and active gas venting at these mud volcanoes was demonstrated by the first samples of gas hydrates ever taken from the Mediterranean floor and chemosynthetic benthic communities with Lamellibrachia (vestimentifera worms) and a new species of Lucinid. Numerous acoustic anomalies in subbottom profiler data from different parts of the area testify to the presence of gas. Shallow gas causes large-scale mass movement of sediment in a wide valley between the mountains.

In the Sorokin Trough (Crimean continental margin), many mud volcanoes were also discovered and cored. These mud volcanoes are situated on the tops of clay diapiric folds. The variable trends of the folds are controlled by uplifts in the underlying deposits. The folds resulted from a lateral, roughly south-north compression. A rich collection of gas hydrates was gathered from the mud volcanoes; and some bacterial mats were observed for the first time on authigenie carbonate crusts from mud breccia.

The shallow structure of the sedimentary cover in the area of the Pallas Uplift demonstrates several stacked fans belonging to the Pleistocene Don and Kuban Rivers. No evidence of shallow gas occurs in this area.

PDF document
PDF document

cruise report
post-cruise meeting abstracts