Discover Europe’s seabed geology

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EMODnet Geology

Seabed Substrate map 1:250k

The EMODnet Geology Portal aims at providing harmonised information on marine geology in Europe.

It is one of several EMODnet portals with the purpose to strengthen blue growth in Europe.


2021.05.27 New EMODnet Geology map on coastal type

Europe’s coast is as diverse as its people. It reflects a history of rock formation and disintegration that is many millions of years long. One of its main characteristics, coastal type, shows the combined effect of geology and human influence. Together, these have a direct influence on vulnerability and resilience to climate change. Hard rocky cliffs, soft sandy beaches, pristine estuaries and man-made harbours are all intertwined with our economies in their own particular way. They affect our short- and long-term safety, and are a big part of our well-being. Being able to visualise coastal type from Iceland’s western fjords to Ukraine’s eastern sand spits sets the stage for sustainable long-term coastal policy.

The new EMODnet Geology map on coastal type builds on the EUROSION map of coastal type released almost twenty years ago. It fills gaps and gives a first-order indication of vulnerability and resilience for policy makers, identifying areas of potentially irreversible future change.

Pan-European overview map of coastal type
red = rocky
yellow/orange = gravelly or sandy
blue = muddy
grey = artificial

This important data product allows users to visualise pan-European coastal type at different spatial scales. A built-in search and zoom functionality enables online users to distinguish areas marked by rocky coasts, (pocket) beaches of sand and gravel, muddy tidal basins and estuaries, and man-made coastlines such as harbours and dams.

2021.04.27 New update of data product “Sedimentation rates” available

EMODnet Geology updated their sedimentation rates data product. The data is compiled from all available information on the rate of sedimentation in European maritime areas, provided by EMODnet project partners from their national waters (incl. EEZ). The information on sedimentation rates for recent sediments is presented as point-source information. The focus is on the present-day sedimentation rates. That means sediment accumulations to the seabed over the past decades, since AD 1900 or so. Estimations of modern sedimentation rates (centimeters/year) can be based, for example, on established historical records of anthropogenic radionuclides (e.g. 137Cs and 241Am), lead (Pb) and stable lead isotope (206/207Pb ratios) as well as on data based on annually laminated sediments. Sedimentation rates data consists of more than 1500 data points at this moment. Knowledge on sediment accumulation rates in a specific area provides a better understanding of geochemical processes and benthic organisms functioning. It is important, also, for the maintenance of shipping lanes and the stability of offshore constructions like wind farms or oil platforms. The data of the sedimentation rates are freely available for visualisation and download on the EMODnet Geology portal.

2021.03.18 New data product “Coastal Migration from field data” available

The new EMODnet Geology shoreline-migration map, released today and freely accessible from the EMODnet portal, allows policy makers, together with national and regional coastal managers, to determine large-scale coastal behaviour and identify areas of rapid change. It is based on field measurements and aerial photography, and covers time periods up to decades. The map is particularly valuable for cliffs, which are prevalent along European coastlines, particularly since state-of-the-art satellite-monitoring methods aren’t yet suitable for imaging erosion of non-sandy types of coastline.

2021.01.13 New update of harmonised seabed substrate data available

EMODnet Geology has updated seabed substrate data products i.e. maps. Within the project diverse national seabed substrate data classifications are brought together, harmonised and collated using the Folk classification system of 5, 7 and 16 classes. The maps illustrate seabed properties at different scales covering all European sea areas. A layer at a scale of 1:25 000 has been added to the multiscale data product and the seabed substrate layers at a scale of 1:50 000 and 1: 100 000 have also been updated. The data products include also seabed substrate data at the scale of 1:250 000 and 1: 1 000 000 published in previous phases of the project. The harmonised maps of the seabed substrate are freely available for visualisation and download on the EMODnet Geology portal.

2019.04.29. New data products for Sea-floor Geology

Within EMODnet Geology, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) (work package leader) compiles and harmonises the European marine geology map data with regard to geomorphology, pre-Quaternary and Quaternary geology. The three data layers released today on seafloor geology show the underlying geology from the Ancient Past (more than 2500 Million years ago) to modern Quaternary deposits and geomorphological features. From it we can read the story about Earths Evolution in the European, marine part of our planet Earth, i.e. from the oldest rocks and how they form, to the youngest rocks and geomorphological features representing the most recent geological and environmental changes.

A variety of target users include scientists and researchers, governments, employees from fisheries and industry, environmental agencies and tourism. In particular, the layers provide information about structures on the seafloor important for geoscience research, and investigations of future exploration of mineral and energy resources but also of biological resources. They are also a source of knowledge to show features of the seafloor geomorphology valuable for habitats of numerous species (fisheries, tourism). In addition, the layers provide information on the seafloor conditions to plan building infrastructures (such as wind parks, or a pipeline or a protection area for endangered species).

“Geology does not know political boundaries, neither at sea nor on land”, says Kristine Asch, work package leader. ”EMODnet geology will help users from science, governments, industry, fisheries and tourism to find and apply overview and detail geology data of any part of the European Seas”.

2019.04.26. Updated map for Events & Probabilities

New datasets about “Geological Events and Probabilities” are now available on the EMODnet Geology Portal. The EMODnet Geology team responsible for the work package “Geological Events and Probabilities”, led by Geological Survey of Italy – ISPRA, has realised broad ranging systematic mapping of Geological events and deposits they originated, detected in sea areas surrounding Europe. Data have been either directly acquired by Partners’ surveys or obtained by cooperation with third parties or retrieved in the literature. Each EMODnet Geology Partner has validated final data regarding marine areas surrounding his country. Read more…

2019.04.23. Harmonised multiscale maps of the seabed substrate

The harmonised and multiscale maps of the seabed substrate have been released today by EMODnet Geology. Diverse national seabed substrate data classifications are brought together, harmonised and collated using the Folk classification system of 5, 7 and 16 classes. The maps illustrate seabed properties at different scales – 1:50 000, 1:100 000, 1:250 000 (250 k) and 1:1 000 000 (1 M) – covering all European maritime areas in one product. The broad scale data (250 k and 1 M) describes the seabed substrate at a general level, suitable for the decision-making, research and large-scale spatial planning. More detailed scale data are needed, for instance, for habitat mapping purposes and planning local constructions like wind farms. The maps of the seabed substrate are now available on the EMODnet Geology portal.

2019.04.19. New data product available for download: Submerged landscapes

Sea level is known to have fluctuated by more than 100 metres over repeated glacial cycles resulting in recurring exposure, inundation and migration of coastlines not only across Europe, but worldwide. Landscape response to these changes in sea level, and the preservation of these features on continental shelves around Europe, are an invaluable resource for improving our understanding of human history and environmental change over geological time.

The EMODnet Geology Team responsible for the work package on Submerged Landscapes, led by the British Geological Survey with project partners from Russia to Iceland, Turkey to Portugal and all European maritime countries, has delivered a compilation of submerged landscape features and palaeoenvironmental indicators, including estimated age where known. The fully attributed Geographic Information System (GIS) layer will be used to underpin palaeogeographic reconstructions across various time-frames. Read more…

2019.04.16. New data product available for download: Marine minerals on behalf of participating European partners

EMODnet Geology’s marine minerals layers include all types of naturally occurring geological raw materials, metals and hydrocarbons known to accumulate in European sea regions. The 12 different types of marine minerals mapped for EMODnet Geology vary widely in types. Differing geological environments are reflected in the varied types of mineral accumulates found in the European marine environment.

Mapping the spatial extent of marine mineral occurrences within European waters allows us to communicate their extent visually, using one common data standard and at one common scale. It is hoped that these seabed mineral deposit maps will be useful to policy makers, planners, industry and society. Read more…

2019.04.08. New data product available for download: Pan-European coastline-migration map based on satellite data 2007-2016

Traditionally, coastline-migration maps, showing erosion and accretion at the fringes of marine and lacustrine water bodies, have been made using field-monitoring data, supplemented locally by analyses of aerial photography. The EMODnet-Geology coastline-migration map is a good example. It provides an overview of our current knowledge and is useful in transnational coastal-zone management. At the same time, it is far from perfect. Read more…

2018.11.09. Why may a mapped coastline differ from the ‘official’ coastline?

Some users of the EMODnet-Geology coastline-migration maps have noted that the coastline as shown in green (accretion), yellow (stable) or red (erosion) does not always match with the ‘official’ present-day coastline. Understandably, they wonder if a mistake has been made. The answer is no. Read more…

2018.09.26. EMODnet Geology on your tv

Full project meeting taking place in Shëngjin, Albania. The meeting was covered by national media: