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Submarine geomorphology and sea floor processes along the coast of Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, from multibeam bathymetry and video data

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2015

Philip E. O’Brien*
Affiliation:
Department of Environment and Geography, Macquaire University, 31/5 Burbury Close, Barton, ACT 2600, Australia
Jodie Smith
Affiliation:
Geoscience Australia, GPO Box 378, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Jonathan S. Stark
Affiliation:
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia
Glenn Johnstone
Affiliation:
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia
Martin Riddle
Affiliation:
Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia
Dennis Franklin
Affiliation:
Indago Partners, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Abstract

A survey of nearshore areas in the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica, using high-resolution multibeam swath bathymetry provided both a detailed digital bathymetric model and information on sediment acoustic backscatter. Combined with underwater video transects and sediment sampling, these data were used to identify and map geomorphic units. Six geomorphic units identified in the survey region include: rocky outcrops, basins, pediments, valleys, scarps and embayments. In addition to geomorphic units, the data revealed sedimentary features that provide insights into post-glacial sediment transport and erosion in the area. Ice keel pits and scours are common, and sea floor channels, scour depressions and sand ribbons indicate transport and deposition by wind-driven currents and oceanographic circulation. Gullies and sediment lobes observed on steep slopes indicate mass movement of sediment. Some of these processes have not been directly observed to date, but their effectiveness in shaping the modern sea floor is clearly indicated by the sea floor mapping data. The embayments preserve a mantle of boulder sand probably deposited by cold-based glaciers which were flanked by faster-flowing ice in adjoining regions.

Type
Earth Sciences
Copyright
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2015 

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Submarine geomorphology and sea floor processes along the coast of Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, from multibeam bathymetry and video data
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