ABSTRACT:

The first phase of implementation of the 10M plan of work for exploration will proceed until the end of 2002. The program focuses on three major fields of activities: geological assessment of nodule deposits, monitoring of the marine environment, and developing techniques for design a collector system. During this phase, a detailed bathymetric chart of the 10M area is to be completed using a multi-beam echo sounder system, a sidescan sonar, and photovideo systems. Sediment and near-bottom water at· individual sites on the seafloor are to be sampled. Environmental research will be focused on oceanographic, biological, and geological monitoring along the320-km-long sub-longitudinal reference transect, including observations on environmental consequences of the 10M BIE" 95 impact test. In cooperation with Russia, 10M plans to participate in both the development and in situ tests of a Deep-Sea Research System (DSRS). The exploration is also aimed at preparing the materials necessary for relinquishment of the final 20% of the pioneer area to the Authority in accordance with paragraph (l)(e) of Resolution II of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.

INTRODUCTION

Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (10M) has been carrying out its survey. activities in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (Fig. 1) according to the 15-yr Plan of Work for exploration, approved by the International Seabed Authority (ISBA/3/C.9 of27 August 1997). The IOM" 97 monitoring work (April-May 1997) during the cruise on board RV PROFESSOR LOGACHEV involved photo-video surveys as well as multicorer and box corer sediment sampling. The near-bottom water, sediment, and pore water contents from different layers were analyzed for their nutrient and heavy metal contents. Photo- and video materials obtained with an ORETECH (Ocean Research Equipments Technology Inc., USA) deep-sea towed camera system are being processed with the aid of the MULTISCAN software.

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