Discover Europe’s seabed geology

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Data products

Find below, data products from EMODnet Geology.

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Seabed Substrate

1 : 100 000 (1:100k)

1 : 250 000 (1:250k)

1 : 1 000 000 (1:1M)

Multiscale (1:1 500 – 1:70 000)

EMODnet Seabed Substrate data products comprise of multiple datasets at different scales, compiled in subsequent EMODnet Geology projects that has aimed to collate the best available data from the European seas since 2009.

In the projects, diverse, national datasets are harmonised into a shared schema which includes not only information on seabed substrate, but also background and confidence level of the data. 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 (100 k and finer) are needed, for instance, for habitat mapping purposes and planning local constructions like wind farms.

Where necessary, the existing substrate classifications (of individual maps) have been translated to a scheme that is supported by European nature information system, EUNIS. This EMODnet reclassification scheme consists of altogether five seabed substrate classes. Four substrate classes are defined based on the modified Folk triangle (mud to sandy mud; sand; coarse sediment; and mixed sediment) and one additional substrate class (rock and boulders) was included by the project team. If the original seabed substrate dataset has enabled more detailed substrate classification, classifications with 7 and 16 substrate classes might be available. However, one should notice that the collated seabed substrate data is not always full coverage, especially at more detailed scales.

Last update: September 2021

Read more about the harmonisation process and substrate classification here

Sedimentation Rates

The Sedimentation Rates map is produced in subsequent EMODnet Geology projects running since 2009. Data is collated and harmonised from all available information provided by project partners from their national waters, including EEZ. The information on sedimentation rates for recent sediments is presented as point-source information.

The sedimentation rates data focuses on the present-day information, meaning accumulation to the seabed over the past decades since AD 1900 or so. Estimations of modern sedimentation rates (centimeters/year) can be based e.g. on established historical records of anthropogenic radionuclides (e.g. 137Cs and 241Am), lead (Pb) and stable lead isotope (206/207Pb ratios).

Last update: April 2021.

Sea-floor geology

Within EMODnet Geology, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is leading the workpackage “Seafloor Geology” to compile and harmonize the European marine geology map data as detailed as possible for the themes
– pre-Quaternary and
– Quaternary geology;
– geomorphology.

These three data layers on Seafloor Geology show the underlying geology from Earths 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.

Users can find in particular Information on scientifically valuable geological and geomorphological structures, on geological material (lithology), its age (stratigraphy) and its forms (geomorphology) on the seafloor in Europe. This contains information on structures on the seafloor important for geoscience research and investigations of future exploration of mineral and energy resources, but also of biologic resources. It is also a source of knowledge to show features of the seafloor geomorphology valuable for habitats of numerous species (Fishery, tourism). In addition, the layers provides information on the sea floor conditions to plan building infrastructures (such as windparks, or a pipeline or a protection area for endangered species).

Read the release anouncement from April 2019 here

Coastal Behavior

Coastal type

The 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.

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.

Coastal behavior from field data

This shoreline-migration map allows policy and decision makers to assess large-scale coastal behavior and identify areas of significant erosion. 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, since state-of-the-art satellite-monitoring methods aren’t yet suitable for imaging erosion of non-sandy types of coastline.

Coastal behavior from satellite data

The public availability of satellite data and new analytical tools for processing big data, such as the Google Earth Engine, enable us to look at coastline migration in a new way. Scripts for automated detection of the land-water boundary generate numerous data points for each part of the European coastline. When averaged by year and analyzed for a decadal period, these data points form the basis for a new pan-European coastline-migration map that covers a consistent time period relevant for present-day coastal-zone management, eliminates data gaps, and portrays a single coastline indicator that is assumed to correspond to the mid-tide land-water boundary. As part of EMODnet-Geology, Gerben Hagenaars at Deltares performed an analysis for tens of thousands of transects with a spacing of 500 meters, giving a map resolution of 1:1,000,000.

Read the release anouncement from March 2021 here

Events and probabilities

These datasets represent a systematic collection of harmonized data concerning geological events. GIS layers display data on the Portal at a resolution of 1:100,000 and 1:250,000 scale concerning earthquakes, submarine landslides, volcanoes, tsunamis, fluid emissions and Quaternary tectonics, subdivided according to their geometry (polygons, points and lines). They provide information on the type of events which have taken place in the past and might potentially occur again. Where available details include dimensions, state of activity, morphological type and lithology.

The elaboration of guidelines to compile GIS layers was aimed at identifying parameters to be used to thoroughly characterize each event. Particular attention has been devoted to the definition of the Attribute tables in order to achieve the best degree of harmonization and standardization complying with the European INSPIRE Directive.

Shapefiles can be downloaded from the Portal and used locally in order to browse through the details of the different features, consulting their Attribute tables. Information contained therein provide an inventory of available data which can be fruitfully applied in the management of coastal areas and support planning of further surveys. By combining the diverse information contained in the different layers, it might be possible to elaborate additional thematic maps which could support further research. Moreover, they potentially represent a useful tool to increase awareness of the hazards which might affect coastal areas.

Data sources include detailed information held by the Project Partners plus any further publicly available third-party data (last update Mar. 2019).

All products delivered by Partners have been collated, verified and validated in order to achieve the best degree of harmonization and INSPIRE compliance.

Each layer is complemented by an Attribute table which provides, in addition to the location, type of geological event and its references (mandatory), further information for each occurrence (where available).

Since features considered within WP6 have a scattered distribution, the additional layer “Geological events distribution” provides basic information on areas of occurrences, no occurrences and no data for the marine areas surrounding European countries.

The landslide susceptibility map

Download (free)

A map of submarine landslide susceptibility in European seas was developed, starting from the points, lines, and polygons of the landslide datasets in this portal, using the maximum entropy model (MaxEnt) and the bathymetry and slope derived from the EMODnet Bathymetry portal (

Assuming that the frequency of occurrence of submarine landslides at a given location does not vary over time, it is possible to state that if a landslide has occurred at that point, then it is likely that the event will occur again in a more or less distant future. According to this assumption, the susceptibility map, obtained from the distribution of past landslides, describes the susceptibility of the seabed to new landslides.Susceptibility indicates the probability that landslides may occur in that portion of the seafloor over time, but does not measure when or how frequently an event may occur, nor its possible size.

High susceptibility values indicate a high probability of landslides. The map clearly distinguishes areas with the highest likelihood of landslides from the majority of the seafloors that are classified as low susceptibility.

The susceptibility map elaborated here cannot be compared to the accuracy of local studies based on detailed investigations of individual landslide phenomena, but for the first time, it allows to have an overall and uniform view on the distribution of landslides susceptibility in European seas.

For a detailed description of the model and method used to generate the submarine landslide susceptibility map refer to: “Submarine landslides: mapping the susceptibility in European seas”, C. Innocenti, L. Battaglini, S. D’Angelo and A. Fiorentino, Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 54, qjegh2020-027, 23 October 2020,

Marine Minerals

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.

The types of minerals that occur on and/or beneath the seafloor to be included in EMODnet Work Package 7 are:

  • aggregates
  • hydrocarbons
  • gas hydrates
  • marine placers
  • phosphorites
  • evaporites
  • polymetallic sulphides
  • polymetallic nodules
  • cobalt rich ferromanganese crust
  • metal rich sediments
  • rock, pegmatite and vein hosted mineralisation
  • sapropel

Read the release anouncement from April 2019 here

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.

More than 10,000 features representing 26 classes of submerged landscape and palaeoenvironmental indicator ranging from mapped and modelled palaeocoastlines, evidence for submerged forests and peats, thickness of post-Last Glacial Maximum sediments and submerged freshwater springs have been collated

Read the release anouncement from April 2019 here

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