Seafloor pockmarks occur worldwide and may represent millions of m3 of continental shelf erosion, but few numerical analyses of their morphology and spatial distribution of pockmarks exist. We introduce a quantitative definition of pockmark morphology and, based on this definition, propose a three-step geomorphometric method to identify and extract pockmarks from high-resolution swath bathymetry. We apply this GIS-implemented approach to 25km2 of bathymetry collected in the Belfast Bay, Maine USA pockmark field. Our model extracted 1767 pockmarks and found a linear pockmark depth-to-diameter ratio for pockmarks field-wide. Mean pockmark depth is 7.6m and mean diameter is 84.8m. Pockmark distribution is non-random, and nearly half of the field's pockmarks occur in chains. The most prominent chains are oriented semi-normal to the steepest gradient in Holocene sediment thickness. A descriptive model yields field-wide spatial statistics indicating that pockmarks are distributed in non-random clusters. Results enable quantitative comparison of pockmarks in fields worldwide as well as similar concave features, such as impact craters, dolines, or salt pools. ?? 2010.
Additional publication details
Automated feature extraction and spatial organization of seafloor pockmarks, Belfast Bay, Maine, USA