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This report describes the operations report and event log of activities designed to perform necessary engineering tests of equipment including the speed-of-sound probe with gravity corer at the site of the Gulf of Mexico seafloor observatory, MC118 and at MC798

This exercise is part of a research project sponsored by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) with the goal of expanding its flood mitigation activities in the Mississippi Delta Region. The Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI) worked with the National Center for Computational Hydroscience and Engineering (NCCHE) and the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering to sponsor a catastrophic flood exercise on October 16, 2015.

This report describes the operations and activities of an 8-day cruise to two sites in Mississippi Canyon, northern Gulf of Mexico, including the site of the Hydrates Seafloor Observatory and the location of a newly discovered seafloor chemosynthetic community. Operations include engineering tests of new and redesigned instruments and vehicles and the recovery of a system designed to monitor changes in resistivity in the shallow sub-seafloor at a site of known hydrate occurrence.

A recently completed analysis of natural hazards that could impact the University of Mississippi, led by the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute (MMRI), has developed hazard profiles to help guide UM to cost effective ways of reducing the vulnerability and mitigating the hazards. Tornadoes are one of the top three hazards of concern.

As part of a multi-university effort to capture the impacts of the historic Mississippi River flood of 2011, Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute researchers’ work appears in the November, 2012 issue of Nature Geoscience. Linking the historic 2011 Mississippi River flood to coastal wetland sedimentation traces sedimentation patterns observed during and immediately following flood events in two very different component distributary systems of the lower Mississippi River. Satellite imagery was used to select sites from which to collect sediment and water samples during peak flood conditions. Post-peak flow sediment samples were collected from adjacent marsh to gain quantitative insights into differences in sedimentation patterns in these environments that play a critical role in coastal protection.

The purpose of field trip was to take advantage of the low levels of the Mississippi River to access exposures normally underwater. The information gathered on the field trip will also be used by Dr. Zachos in his paleontology class to be taught in the spring semester and to plan future fossil collection trips for UM students.

The Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute participated in the University showcase part of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, TX. Founded in 1969, the OTC is the largest conference/trade show dedicated to the development of offshore resources and includes topics and vendors from the drilling, exploration, productions and environmental industries. The MMRI booth highlighted the research and technology development part of the Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium. With almost 90,000 attendees, the OTC is a good opportunity to meet and talk with industry representatives from around the world. During the two days in the University Showcase, we discussed hydrate research and technology development with representatives from several major US oil companies, international scientists from several Pacific Rim nations and other universities from around the world.