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Sea-Floor Sunday #53: Deep-sea erosional scours

August 23, 2009

This week’s Sea-Floor Sunday image is from last week’s issue of AGU’s EOS newsletter. I’m always thrilled to open up my copy of EOS and see articles related to the exploration and mapping our ocean floor.

Using state-of-the-art technology, researchers from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK have mapped erosional scours offshore northwest Africa. These erosional features are created by powerful sediment-laden gravity flows, called turbidity currents.


credit: AGU EOS, v. 90, no. 32;

These features are not small … check out the scale on the map. Individual scours are hundreds of meters across, kilometers in length, and >10 meters deep. This particular field of scours is located at the mouth of the Agadir submarine canyon.

The more we map the ocean floors the more interesting, and sometimes unexpected, features we discover. The advent of meter-scale resolution multibeam mapping technology is leading to the rise of a ‘new’ discipline — submarine geomorphology. Think about how much we’ve learned about the surface of the Earth on land from high-resolution aerial photos and DEMs. A tiny fraction of the sea floor has been mapped at this resolution — we are essentially at the beginning of a new age of exploration and discovery. It’s a very exciting time.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 25, 2009 11:57 pm

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