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Title: A technique for the morphological characterization of submarine landscapes as exemplified by debris flows of the Storegga Slide
Authors: Micallef, Aaron
Berndt, Christian
Masson, Douglas G.
Stow, Dorrik A. V.
Keywords: Debris avalanches -- Risk assessment
Geomorphology -- Research
Submarine geology -- Research
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Citation: Micallef, A., Berndt, C., Masson, D. G., & Stow, D. A. (2007). A technique for the morphological characterization of submarine landscapes as exemplified by debris flows of the Storegga Slide. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 112(F02001), 1-15.
Abstract: In comparison to subaerial and planetary landscapes, submarine environments are rarely investigated using quantitative geomorphological techniques. Application of traditional geomorphometric techniques is hindered by the spatial variability in bathymetric data resolution and the extensive scale over which changes in topography occur. We propose a novel methodology for the improved quantitative analysis of submarine elevation data by adapting numerical techniques, developed for subaerial analyses, to submarine environments. The method integrates three main morphometric techniques: morphometric attributes and their statistical analyses, feature-based quantitative representation, and automated topographic classification. These techniques allow useful morphological information to be extracted from a digital elevation model. Morphometric attributes and their statistical analyses provide summary information about an area, which can be used to calibrate computer-generated geomorphometric maps. In these maps the boundaries of geomorphological features are delineated, and they can thus be used as the basis for geomorphological interpretation. Ridge patterns and their morphological characteristics provide an accurate representation of specific aspects of terrain variability. Moment statistics are used as proxies of surface roughness to differentiate between surface types. Unsupervised classification, carried out using ridge characteristics and moment statistics, reliably segments the surface into units of homogeneous topography. A case study of debris flow lobes within the Storegga Slide shows that the techniques work robustly and that the new methodology integrating all the techniques can significantly enhance submarine geomorphological investigations.
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