Pockmarks are seabed depressions developed by fluid flow processes that can be found in vast numbers in many marine and lacustrine environments. Manual mapping of these features based on geophysical data is, however, extremely time-consuming and subjective. Here, we present results from a semi-automated mapping toolbox developed to allow more efficient and objective mapping of pockmarks. This ArcGIS-based toolbox recognizes, spatially delineates, and morphometrically describes pockmarks. Since it was first developed, the toolbox has helped to map and characterize several thousands of pockmarks on the UK continental shelf, especially within the central North Sea. This paper presents the latest developments in the functionality of the toolbox and its adaptability for application to other geographic areas (Barents Sea, Norway, and Malin Deep, Ireland) with varied pockmark and seabed morphologies, and in different geological settings. The morphometric characterization of vast numbers of pockmarks allows an unprecedented statistical analysis of their morphology. The outputs from the toolbox provide an objective, quantitative baseline for combining this information with the geological and oceanographical knowledge of individual areas, which can provide further insights into the processes responsible for their development and their influence on local seabed conditions and habitats.
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