Abstract

GLORIA (Geologic Long-Range Inclined Asdic) sidescan sonar images were collected over the entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) west of the conterminous United States. The continuous, overlapping, swath-mapping technique provides, for the first time, a reconnaissance plan view off the entire sea floor from the edge of the continental shelf to 370 km from shore. The mid-ocean ridges, transform faults, seamount provinces, and sediment fans that dominate this region of the EEZ are seen in detail, and many features never before mapped in this region, such as canyons, seamounts, and meandering channels, have been located. Marked differences are apparent in the morphology of the continental slope and in sedimentary features both on the slope and in the deep ocean. Anticlinal ridges and diapirs crossed by large submarine canyon systems are clearly defined on the continental slope north of the Mendocino Fracture Zone. In contrast, the slope south of the fracture zone is incised by a dense network of smaller scale canyons and only a few large canyon systems. The first-order causes of these differences are related to differences in tectonic setting between the subduction-dominated margin north of Cape Mendocino and the strike-slip-dominated margin to the south.

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