OGS is taking part in an oceanographic campaign on the southern Brazilian continental margin, to study the seabed with the help of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, or AUV (photo 1). OGS researcher Daniel Praeg has joined Brazilian colleagues aboard the vessel Rig Supporter for the NR12/CONEGAS campaign (photo 2), from 12-27 January 2012, with the objective of using the AUV to examine seabed features of gas seepage. The AUV is a 6 m long torpedo-like submersible that is programmed to descend up to 40 m from the seabed, using acoustic instruments and cameras to obtain high resolution seabed images (http://www.cctechnol.com/auv). This is the second Brazilian campaign in which OGS has taken part. Both campaigns were led by Professor João Marcelo Ketzer of PUCRS, the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul.(http://www3.pucrs.br). OGS researchers also took part in the MD186/CONEGAS campaign, from 19 May to 1 June 2011, joining 28 Brazilian scientists from PUCRS aboard the French research vessel Marion Dufresne (photo 3). The Marion Dufresne is renowned for its ability to acquire the world’s longest sediment cores, up to 60 m in length.
Participation in the campaigns is linked to a agreement of collaboration signed between OGS and PUCRS in 2011. The agreement reflects shared current research interests in marine geoscience, in particular in the study of submarine fluid flow in relation to gas hydrates and geohazards on continental margins. The two institutes have complementary skills in these fields: OGS has a robust experience in marine geophysical investigations, while PUCRS has core strengths in geochemical and geological research. The collaboration between OGS and PUCRS takes place in the frame of the CONEGAS project, an ambitious 4-year research initiative to investigate gas hydrates in the Rio Grande Cone, underway since 2010 as a joint venture of PUCRS and Petrobras. The project is led by CEPAC, a Centre of Excellence at PUCRS coordinated by Prof. Ketzer (http://www.pucrs.br/cepac/).