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Seabed Mapping Using Shipboard Multibeam Acoustic Data for Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Ferromanganese Crusts on Seamounts in the Western Pacific

1
Deep-Sea Mineral Resources Research Center, Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology, Busan 49111, Korea
2
Department of Geological Sciences, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Korea
3
Department of Marine Science & Convergence Engineering, Hanyang University ERICA, Gyeonggi-do 15588, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(2), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10020155
Received: 22 November 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Modelling, Volume II)
Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts (Fe–Mn crusts), potential economic resources for cobalt, nickel, platinum, and other rare metals, are distributed on the surface of seamounts, ridges, and plateaus. Distribution of Fe–Mn crust deposits and their geomorphological characteristics are prerequisites to selecting possible mining sites and to predicting the environmental impact of deep-sea mining activity. Here, we map the spatial distribution of Fe–Mn crust deposits on seamount summits and flanks in the Western Pacific using shipboard multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data and seafloor images from a deep-towed camera system (DCS) and evaluate the relationship between acoustic backscatter variations and the occurrence of Fe–Mn crusts. We find a positive correlation between high backscatter intensity, steep seabed slope gradients, and the occurrence of Fe–Mn crusts. However, our analysis was not effective to distinguish the spatial boundary between several seabed types that occur over small areas in mixed seabed zones, particularly where transition zones and discontinuous seabed types are present. Thus, we conclude that MBES data can be a valuable tool for constraining spatial distribution of Fe–Mn crust deposits over a large exploration area. View Full-Text
Keywords: ferromanganese crust; seamounts; shipboard multibeam survey; acoustic backscatter intensity; seafloor observation; seabed classification ferromanganese crust; seamounts; shipboard multibeam survey; acoustic backscatter intensity; seafloor observation; seabed classification
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Joo, J.; Kim, S.-S.; Choi, J.W.; Pak, S.-J.; Ko, Y.; Son, S.-K.; Moon, J.-W.; Kim, J. Seabed Mapping Using Shipboard Multibeam Acoustic Data for Assessing the Spatial Distribution of Ferromanganese Crusts on Seamounts in the Western Pacific. Minerals 2020, 10, 155.

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