From Wednesday 23 May 2018 until Friday 8 June 2018, RV Belgica will be surveying the upper reaches of the Gollum Channel System, located on the eastern slope of the Porcupine Seabight, offshore Ireland. The shipboard scientific team consists out of 10 scientists and technicians from Ghent University (RCMG, Dept. of Geology), Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) and University College Cork.

The mission of the survey is to investigate slope sites which have been subject of failure (submarine landslides) in the past, and to survey sites which show signs of potential sliding in the future. We will deploy our high-resolution single channel sparker seismic profiling system, as well as the VLIZ remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Genesis to perform visual seabed investigations. As such, we hope to better identify the mechanisms and associated volumes of the past (and future) sliding, which will allow to assess the risk of “silent” tsunami’s. Most tsunami’s are generated in zones associated to subduction and thus to major earthquakes. The earthquake may thus serve as a precursor and warning for a potential tsunami wave. However, “spontaneous” sliding which is not associated to earthquakes does not give any “natural” warning, and may arrive unexpectedly on the adjacent coastline. During the geological surveys, our colleagues will be performing observations for marine mammals and birds.

During this survey, we will invite all participants to write a short blog entry every day, to give their view and duties on this “mission”. You are most welcome to join us in this adventure. If all goes well, the first survey day will start on Saturday 26th. Additionally you may actually “track” us and enjoy the view from the bridge through the RBINS OD Nature RV Belgica website. A selection of “pics of the day” will be posted through the “rcmg_on_the_field” Instagram account.

Blog posts


The First Dive

A nice day in Bantry Bay

3, 2, 1, aaaaaaaaaand action!

Birds and Marine Mammals of the Celtic Sea

The beating heart of the ship

Keep on rollin’ baby

Sparky in great shape

Straight into the deep end

Sunny Sunday in the Channel

We’ll be back…


Location of the study area


RV Belgica