The objective of the MoMAR (“Monitoring the Mid-Atlantic Ridge”) initiative is to study the dynamics of deep-sea hydrothermal systems on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, south of the Azores islands. Hydrothermal circulation at mid-ocean ridges impacts the transfer of energy and matter from the interior of the Earth to the crust, hydrosphere and biosphere. On the fractured seafloor, seawater circulates through the permeable oceanic crust, exchanges chemicals with the surrounding rocks, and is heated to temperatures reaching 400°C. This hot fluid flows up and is expelled at hydrothermal vents, forming emissions of different physico-chemical properties (from black smokers to diffuse venting). The unique faunal communities that develop near these vents are sustained by chemosynthetic micro-organisms that use reduced chemicals (H2S, CH4, …) presents in the hot fluids as energy sources.

Momar-D is one of the ESONET demonstration actions. It aims at testing the deployment and functioning of a multidisciplinary deep-sea floor observatory centred on the Lucky Strike hydrothermal vent field. This core observatory will use two SEAMON nodes acoustically linked to a surface buoy that will ensure satellite communication to a land-based station. The experiments planned at the Lucky Strike vent field will explore the dynamics of the geosphere, its impact on hydrothermal fluid properties, and on the associated fauna and the exchange with the global ocean.

MoMAR-D will provide the technological know how and the scientific impetus to promote durable monitoring solutions such as the use of a cable, with the extension of real-time monitoring of volcanic, hydrothermal and biological processes to areas nearer the Azores Islands, to assist the Azores region with issues related to volcanic hazards and durable management of environmental resources. The ESONET Azores node is planned to extend the on-land seismic and volcanic monitoring system offshore, and to provide holistic information concerning these habitats, essential for the ecosystem-based management of the region.

Sketch of the MOMARD-D experiment


The TEMPO ecological observatory module at Lucky Strike – MoMARETO 2006


The BOREL buoy


A Smoker at the base of the Eiffel Tower hydrothermal edifice. Mormareto, 2006

Following table lists plannned schedule:


Planned activities 

June 2008- June 2010

Physical integration of the sensors on the SEAMON nodes

On shore validation of the subsystems and complete system

January 2010

Cruise preparation

July 2010

Cruise 1: Deployment of the system

July – August 2010

Data integration over the 1 month recording period and shore-based integration of near real time transmitted data

August- December 2010

Data integration over the 1 month recording period and shore-based integration of near real time transmitted data

December 2010

End of the core MoMAR-D period

August 2011

Cruise 2: Recovery of the seafloor observing system

December 2011

Evaluation of the project : results, data integration over the 1 year recording period, prospective

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