The Western Mediterranean Margins Work Group is part of the scientific coordination program Actions Marges, a French initiative for cross disciplinary research on continental margins. Continental margins are rich on deep-sea ecosystems and natural resources, but also vulnerable to destructive processes such as landslides, sediment flows and strong bottom currents. In order to assess the geohazard risk and resource potential, we need to study the complex geodynamic history resulting from a coupling between internal basin processes, surface and external processes.
The Western Mediterranean encompasses a diverse collection of relatively young margins and basins, some seismically passive and others very active. The margins have gone through important climate variations and have created larges deltas (Rhone, Ebre) and hugh evaporate and salt deposits (Messinian crisis). These objects are associated with important paleoclimatic records, economic zones and tectonic deformations that are still poorly understood. One of the objectives of the project is to finalize an IODP proposal for an ultra deep drilling (GOLD/DREAM) in the Western Mediterranean.