MARCAN addresses the hypothesis that topographically-driven meteoric groundwater plays a key role in the geomorphic development of passive continental margins. The objectives of MARCAN are to:

  • Define the characteristics and dynamics of topographically-driven meteoric groundwater systems in passive continental margins.

  • Demonstrate that topographically-driven meteoric groundwater is an important geomorphic agent in passive continental margins.

The project specifically focuses on submarine canyons eroding bedrock and cohesive sediments in passive continental margins. The latter constitute almost one-fifth of the global ocean floor, host offshore resources and geohazards, and are an archive of past climatic, eustatic, and sedimentary fluxes. Submarine canyons incise 20% of continental margins worldwide and play a key role in their evolution. Submarine canyons are also considered important biodiversity hotspots, pathways for nutrients and pollutants, regulators of oceanographic processes, and analogues of hydrocarbon reservoirs.