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Morphodynamics of a field of crescent-shaped rippled scour depressions: Northern Monterey Bay, CA

February 22, 2019

Despite the prevalence of rippled scour depression (RSD) on the world's continental shelves and their importance as nursery habitats for many commercially-important species, the processes responsible for their formation and geomorphic evolution are still not well understood. Most studies that focused on RSD evolution have been based on data acquired over multiple years to decades, and often during calmer summer months. Here, multiple geophysical seafloor mapping surveys of a field of RSD's off Santa Cruz, California, USA, were conducted over the course of two winters with distinctly different oceanographic forcing; these results were compared to time series oceanographic measurements made within the survey area, and put into the context of long-term trends from survey data collected during previous decades. Although the migration of these features across the seafloor occurs on decadal time scales, significant change was detected within a given year, depending on the wave climate and fluvial sediment input. RSDs shrank up to 16% or grew up to 28% in a span of a few months. Such change was predominantly the result of redistribution of fine-grained sediment input to the system by local rivers. Migration of the seafloor features appears to be the result of accumulation of fine-grained sediment at the boundary between the RSD and the surrounding fine-grained cap.

Publication Year 2019
Title Morphodynamics of a field of crescent-shaped rippled scour depressions: Northern Monterey Bay, CA
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2018.10.006
Authors Kurt J. Rosenberger, Curt D. Storlazzi, Peter Dartnell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Index ID 70202332
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center