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Sandwave migration in Monterey Submarine Canyon, Central California

January 1, 2008

Repeated high-resolution multibeam bathymetric surveys from 2002 through 2006 at the head of the Monterey Submarine Canyon reveal a sandwave field along the canyon axis between 20 and 250??m water depth. These sandwaves range in wavelength from 20 to 70??m and 1 to 3??m in height. A quantitative measure was devised to determine the direction of sandwave migration based on the asymmetry of their profiles. Despite appreciable spatial variation the sandwaves were found to migrate in a predominantly down-canyon direction, regardless of season and tidal phases. A yearlong ADCP measurement at 250??m water depth showed that intermittent internal tidal oscillations dominated the high-speed canyon currents (50-80??cm/s), which are not correlated with the spring-neap tidal cycle. Observed currents of 50??cm/s or higher were predominantly down-canyon. Applying a simple empirical model, flows of such magnitudes were shown to be able to generate sandwaves of a size similar to the observed ones. ?? 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication Year 2008
Title Sandwave migration in Monterey Submarine Canyon, Central California
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2007.11.005
Authors J. P. Xu, F. L. Wong, R. Kvitek, D.P. Smith, C. K. Paull
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Index ID 70031974
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse