Automated feature extraction and spatial organization of seafloor pockmarks, Belfast Bay, Maine, USA Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • 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 25 km2 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 7.6 m and mean diameter is 84.8 m. 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.

publication date

  • December 2010