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Geophysical investigations of a chemical munition dumpsite in the Baltic Sea

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2 Author(s)
Missiaen, T. ; Renard Centre of Marine Geol., Univ. of Gent, Ghent ; Feller, P.

Very high resolution seismic and magnetic investigations were carried out over a chemical munition dumpsite in the Bornholm Basin, south-western Baltic. The main goal of the investigations was to image the internal structure of the dumpsite and to map the lateral and vertical distribution of the dumped weapons. The shallow geology was imaged in great detail on the seismic data. Seven seismic-stratigraphic units were identified, related to different stages in the Holocene and late-glacial history. A large number of diapir-like features were observed that most likely represent fluid expulsion phenomena. Four shipwrecks were identified in the dumpsite area. The wrecks have partly sunk into the soft upper sediments, their height above the sea floor reaching no more than 2 m. Seismic and magnetic data indicate the presence of a large number of buried objects. In most cases there is a good correlation between the two data sets. The objects are generally buried no deeper than 1 to 2 m. Their size varies between 1.5 and 5 m, occasionally up to 10 m. Shallow pits in the sea bed are likely due to the impact of dumping. The data confirm the wide variety of dumped war material ranging from bombs and shells to encasements and containers. The distribution of the buried objects seems rather heterogeneous, with locally high object concentrations surrounded by areas of lower object density. The results of this case study demonstrate the benefit of complementary, concurrent geophysical investigations for munition dumpsite research. Finally this will yield a better assessment of the current status of the dumpsite and the possible ecological risks related to the dumped war material.

Published in:

US/EU-Baltic International Symposium, 2008 IEEE/OES

Date of Conference:

27-29 May 2008