Study Sheds Light on Sediment Resuspension Mechanisms
An international team of oceanographers from the U.S. and Mexico, which include NCEI and Cooperative Institute for Satellite Earth System Studies scientist, Alexey Mishonov, have a new article in a recent issue of Marine Geology on determining the bottom nepheloid layers in the central and southern deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico west of the Yucatan peninsula.
Nepheloid layers refer to the layers of water above the ocean floor that contain significant amounts of suspended sediment. In the paper, Mishonov and his co-authors analyzed the first measurements of bottom nepheloid layers in the central and southern deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico west of the Yucatan peninsula made from Mexican and NOAA research vessels in 2015-2017. They found evidence of sediment resuspension linked with oceanic phenomena. The researchers also found a correlation between benthic nepheloid layers, strong bottom currents, and deeply eroded furrows in the seafloor.
This study is important because it sheds light on the mechanisms that drive sediment resuspension in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Understanding the processes that control the formation and movement of nepheloid layers can provide valuable information for oceanic modeling, fishing, and other industries that rely on the health and stability of these systems. Additionally, increased levels of suspended particulate matter can impact water quality and have a strong effect on marine ecosystems, which may have important implications for coastal management and preservation efforts.