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Sea-Floor Sunday #33: Uppermost Monterey submarine canyon

October 26, 2008

ResearchBlogging.orgThis week’s Sea-Floor Sunday highlights the very upper reaches of Monterey submarine canyon (central California coast). Monterey Canyon might be the world’s best-mapped submarine canyon. If you google it, you’ll find plenty of information about it.

This particular image is from a 2005 GSA Bulletin paper by Smith et al. (2005) from Cal State Monterey Bay called “Semiannual patterns of erosion and deposition in upper Monterey Canyon from serial multibeam bathymetry” [link].

Uppermost Monterey submarine canyon - Fig. 2 from Smith et al. (2005); GSA Bulletin; doi: 10.1130/B25510.1

What they did in this study was analyze a series of sea-floor images over time to investigate changes. It’s a cool paper, I recommend taking a look at it if you’re interested in this stuff.

The cool thing about this image is how high-resolution it is — this particular multibeam system achieved 3 m resolution. This is awesome!

In terms of sedimentation (deposition and erosion) all the action is taking place on the canyon floor. Note the arcuate sand wave-like features. There is another paper coming out soon about these features that I’ll post about in the future – very interesting stuff.
Douglas P. Smith, Genoveva Ruiz, Rikk Kvitek, Pat J. Iampietro (2005). Semiannual patterns of erosion and deposition in upper Monterey Canyon from serial multibeam bathymetry Geological Society of America Bulletin, 117 (9) DOI: 10.1130/B25510.1

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