Launched in January 2022, the MARMOR project (Marine Advanced geophysical Research equipment and Mayotte multidisciplinary Observatory for research and Response) aims at providing the French scientific community with the mobile and cabled equipment required to advance the study of the earth deformation, seismicity, tsunamis, volcanism, and of several key environmental issues in ocean and coastal areas.

The project has two objectives:

1) Under the umbrella of RESIF-EPOS (the French research infrastructure for seismology and geodesy): i) initiate the development of marine geodesy in France and ii)  RESEARCH Infrastructure; and ii) provide the French scientific community with the mobile equipment needed to extend the on-land observations capabilities into the marine domain.

The new, mobile equipment is meant to improve our capacity to

  • (i) characterize deformation and seismicity at plate boundaries, study the processes leading to the occurrence of major earthquakes and tsunamis
  • (ii) study underwater gravity instabilities posing significant local threats to coastal populations (iii) understand the volcano dynamics particularly in the French oversea territories
  • (iv) image the internal structure of the Earth, down to crustal and mantle scales. Beyond “Solid Earth” issues, the equipment will also allow address emerging challenges in relation to global environment research, e.g.: oceanography (sea-level fluctuation; coastal and oceanic dynamics at different scales of space and time: swell, internal waves, basin oscillations, mass balances); environment (monitoring of anthropogenic ocean noise pollution; coastal erosion); biology (monitoring of marine mammals; seabed processes -bioturbation, degassing).

2) Under the umbrella of REVOSIMA (the seismo-volcanic observatory in Mayotte) : to implement a multidisciplinary seafloor and water column observatory to monitor the on-going, submarine seismo-volcanic crisis that started in May 2018 offshore Mayotte. The persistent seismic activity, together with the associated deformation field, indicate a potential for a migration of the eruptive activity to the west, that could expose the 290 000 inhabitants of Mayotte to considerable risks. The Mayotte observatory system will allow permanent, real-time monitoring of the seismo-volcanic activity and serve as a multi-disciplinary platform for cutting edge research, not only in geoscience, but also on the evolution of marine ecosystems in response to large-scale, deep-sea eruptions. The specific equipment for research on deep-sea ecosystems will be fully supported by Ifremer, to integrate a variety of scientific communities, nationally and internationally, and foster synergies for frontier research.