MNF sea trials and survey of East Tasman Plateau

Unravelling the onset of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
Voyage No

IN2016_E01

17 Aug, 2016

to

22 Aug, 2016

Hobart

to

Hobart

Chief Scientist

Dr Joanne Whittaker

Institution

University of Tasmania

Voyage summary

Trial voyage to undertake equipment trials for the Marine National Facility. Included on this voyage was a project to the East Tasman Plateau in order to study the Cascade Guyot, a now submerged feature located southwest of Tasmania.

Understanding the geology and evolution of the Cascade Guyot will offer better understanding of the evolution of the Tasman Seaway.

The Tasman Seaway is a critical component in the onset of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Today, this current helps keep Antarctica cool. But how and when it began, and its role in stabilising Antarctic ice sheets remains controversial. This voyage will gather marine geological data to resolve these outstanding tectonic and oceanographic questions around the evolution of key changes in past climatic and oceanographic conditions.

Voyage impact

During this voyage researchers collected geological samples that will enable them to resolve how rapidly the Tasman Seaway deepened. The results will also help constrain our understanding of the onset of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Understanding how the Earth transitioned from a warm climate to a cool climate 35 million years ago is important for understanding how increasing CO2 levels may affect climactic and oceanographic conditions in the future. Unravelling the role of tectonic plate movement versus CO2 changes will help improve models that can be used to predict change into the future.

In addition, data collected will provide a better understanding of the evolution of the Cascade Guyot, which was mapped in unprecedented detail. Ongoing analysis of geological samples will contribute to more detailed understanding of the evolution of the Cascade Guyot and the evolution of the Tasman Seaway.