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Mapping the Gulf of Maine with side-scan sonar: A new bottom-type classification for complex seafloors

Journal of Coastal Research

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, , , and

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Abstract

The bedrock-framed seafloor in the northwestern Gulf of Maine is characterized by extreme changes in bathymetric relief and covered with a wide variety of surficial materials. Traditional methods of mapping cannot accurately represent the great heterogeneity of such a glaciated region. A new mapping scheme for complex seafloors, based primarily on the interpretation of side-scan sonar imagery, utilizes four easily recognized units: rock, gravel, sand and mud. In many places, however, the seafloor exhibits a complicated mixture or extremely 'patchy' distribution of the four basic units, which are too small to map individually. Twelve composite units, each a two-component mixture of the basic units, were established to represent this patchiness at a small scale (1:100,000). Using a geographic information system, these and all other available data (seismic profiles, grab samples, submersible dives and cores) were referenced to a common geographic base, superimposed on bathymetric contours and then integrated into surficial geologic maps of the regional inner continental shelf. This digital representation of the seafloor comprises a multidimensional, interactive model complete with explicit attributes (depth, bottom type) that allow for detailed analysis of marine environments.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Mapping the Gulf of Maine with side-scan sonar: A new bottom-type classification for complex seafloors
Series title:
Journal of Coastal Research
Volume
14
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Coastal Research
First page:
646
Last page:
659
Number of Pages:
14