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Using topographic slope distributions to infer seafloor patterns

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2 Author(s)
D. K. Smith ; Dept. of Geolog. & Geophys., Woods Hole Oceanogr. Inst., MA, USA ; P. R. Shaw

The authors present a method for obtaining parameters for Sea Beam swath bathymetry which describe the characteristics of abyssal-hill topography. The basic quantity used in the analysis is the distribution of topographic slopes in a region. A convenient means for parameterizing these slopes is through unit vectors that are normal to small patches of the seafloor; the normal vectors are decomposed into azimuthal and dip components. It is found that the azimuthal distribution of the vectors provides a first-order indication of the dominant elongation directions in the topography, including multiple lineations when they are present. It is shown that the slope statistics are relatively independent of long-wavelength depth variations and are robust even if large anomalous features such as seamounts and fracture zones are included in the section of bathymetry analyzed

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 4 )