Applying Automatic Mapping Processing by GMT to Bathymetric and Geophysical Data: Cascadia Subduction Zone, Pacific Ocean

Journal of Environmental Geography, 13(3-4), 15-26. DOI: 10.2478/jengeo-2020-0008

12 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Polina Lemenkova

Polina Lemenkova

Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences

Date Written: December 31, 2020

Abstract

The Cascadia Trench is stretching along the convergent plate boundaries of Pacific Plate, North America Plate and Juan De Fuca Plate. It is an important geomorphological structural feature in the north-east Pacific Ocean. The aim of the paper is to analyse the geomorphology of the Cascadia Trench west of Vancouver Island (Canada and USA) using the GMT cartographic scripting toolset. The unique geomorphological feature of the Cascadia Trench is that the thick sediment layer completely obscures the subduction zone and abyssal hills. This results in the asymmetric profile in the cross-section of the trench. Bathymetric data were extracted from the GEBCO 2019 dataset (15 arc-second grid), sediment thickness by the GlobSed dataset. Due to the dominance of high sedimentary rate and complexity of the tectonic processes and geologic settings, Cascadia Trench develops very specific asymmetric geomorphic shape comparing to the typical V-form. The results of the geomorphic modelling show that eastern side of the trench has a gentle curvature (slope: 35.12°), partially stepped, due to the tectonic movements and faults. The opposite, oceanward side is almost completely leveled. The trench is narrow with maximal depth at the selected segment -3489 m and for the whole dataset -6201 m. The most repetitive depth is in a range -2500 to -2400 m (267 samples) and -2500 to -2600 m (261 samples). The bottom is mostly flat due to the high sedimentation rates indicating the accumulative leveling processes. Marine free-air gravity anomalies along the Cascadia Subduction Zone are characterized by weakly positive values (20 mGal) increasing rapidly in the zone of the continental slope (>200 mGal), which is associated with a decrease in thickness of the Earth's crust.

Keywords: GMT, Cascadia Trench, Cascadia Subduction Zone, Pacific Ocean, Cartography, Geomorphology

JEL Classification: Q00, Q01, Q24, Q25, Q30, Q33, Q35, Q40, Q50, Q51, Y92, C00, C02, C30, C31

Suggested Citation

Lemenkova, Polina, Applying Automatic Mapping Processing by GMT to Bathymetric and Geophysical Data: Cascadia Subduction Zone, Pacific Ocean (December 31, 2020). Journal of Environmental Geography, 13(3-4), 15-26. DOI: 10.2478/jengeo-2020-0008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3760337

Polina Lemenkova (Contact Author)

Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences ( email )

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