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Benthic Boundary Layer

The investigation of the Benthic Boundary Layer (BBL) involves the study of a wide spectrum of different, but connected, processes. Generally it is considered a quite homogeneous environment where a wide variety of processes (chemical, physical, geological and biological) occur often producing front structures or inducing turbulence phenomena. The typical stratification of these zones can be interrupted by episodic events which effects can diffuse to the ocean interior exploiting by local current and mixing processes. Here chemical species exchange across the sediment-water interface, benthic communities live and sediment transported by currents frequently change the morphology shapes.
According to hydrodynamic definition, the BBL thickness may vary from few millimetres up to 100 metres depending on the friction intensity with the sea bed and the stability of water column above it. 


Generally in deep-sea condition, the BBL thickness is defined by the ratio between the friction velocity and the Coriolis parameter according to the Ekman scale. 


A multidisciplinary approach is necessary to recognise possible events and to understand all potential linkages between different phenomena. Benthic observatories as GEOSTAR, allow to record long time-series of geochemical, seismological, geomagnetic, geodetic and oceanographic data and allow to understand the dynamics and evolution of the processes though comparison and interpolation of different types of signals. From a oceanographic point of view, the technology of these benthic observatories brings the possibility to observe and measure directly the hydrological properties at the seafloor collecting data for long-time series and with high sampling rate.

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