Submarine geomorphology: quantitative methods illustrated with the Hawaiian volcanoes

2013-08-30T08:18:24Z (GMT) by John Hillier
Submarine geomorphology, like sub-aerial geomorphology, is the study of the Earth's surface in order to better understand tectonic and geomorphic processes. Such processes include volcanism, neo-tectonics (i.e. the activity of geological faults), the escape of hydrocarbons and submarine erosion (e.g. by channel cutting or landslides). Furthermore, submarine geomorphology can provide valuable input into other fields, such as indicating likely fisheries or habitats for corals.This case study illustrates quantitative methods in submarine geomorphology with 'Regional-Residual Relief Separation', which splits landscapes (digital elevation models) into two components, isolating features of interest in one component for visualisation or analysis as desired: here, isolating Hawaiian volcanoes. Mapping volcanoes and accurately quantifying descriptive properties such as height and volume are vital to constrain our understanding of how the Earth melts and volcanoes erupt. Key future opportunities in submarine geomorphology using quantitative methods are also highlighted.