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Yong Yang, Gaowen He, Yonggang Liu, Jinfeng Ma, Zhenquan Wei, Binbin Guo. Automated multi-scale classification of the terrain units of the Jiaxie Guyots and their mineral resource characteristics[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1981-1
Citation: Yong Yang, Gaowen He, Yonggang Liu, Jinfeng Ma, Zhenquan Wei, Binbin Guo. Automated multi-scale classification of the terrain units of the Jiaxie Guyots and their mineral resource characteristics[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1981-1

Automated multi-scale classification of the terrain units of the Jiaxie Guyots and their mineral resource characteristics

doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1981-1
Funds:  The National Natural Science Foundation of China under contract Nos 42072324 and 91958202; the Key Special Project for Introduced Talents Team of Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou) under contract No. GML2019ZD0106; the Resource & Environment Project of COMRA under contract No. DY135-C1-1-03; the Geological Survey Project of CGS under contract No. DD20190629.
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  • Given the advances in satellite altimetry and multibeam bathymetry, benthic terrain classification based on digital bathymetric models (DBMs) has been widely used for the mapping of benthic topographies. For instance, Cobalt-rich crusts (CRCs) are important mineral resources found on seamounts and guyots in the western Pacific Ocean. Thick, plate-like CRCs are known to form on the summit and slopes of seamounts at the 1 000–3 000 m depth, while the relationship between seamount topography and spatial distribution of CRCs remains unclear. The benthic terrain classification of seamounts can solve this problem, thereby, facilitating the rapid exploration of seamount CRCs. Our study used an EM122 multibeam echosounder to retrieve high-resolution bathymetry parameters in the CRCs contract license area of China, i.e., the Jiaxie Guyots in 2015 and 2016. The DBM, broad- and fine-scale bathymetric position indices were utilized for quantitative classification of the terrain units of the Jiaxie Guyots on multiple scales. The classification revealed four first-order terrain units (e.g., flat, crest, slope, and depression) and eleven second-order terrain units (e.g., local crests, depressions on crests, gentle slopes, crests on slopes, and local depressions, etc.). Furthermore, the classification of the terrain and geological analysis indicated that the Weijia Guyot has a large flat summit, with local crests at the southern summit, whereas most of the guyot flanks were covered by gentle slopes. “Radial” mountain ridges have developed on the eastern side, while large-scale gravitational landslides have developed on the western and southern flanks. Additionally, landslide masses can be observed at the bottom of these slopes. The coverage of local crests on the seamount is ~1 000 km2, and the local crests on the peak and flanks of the guyots may be the areas where thick and continuous plate-like CRCs are likely to occur.
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