Publications

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2016
DeSanto, JB, Sandwell DT, Chadwell CD.  2016.  Seafloor geodesy from repeated sidescan sonar surveys. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:4800-4813.   10.1002/2016jb013025   AbstractWebsite

Accurate seafloor geodetic methods are critical to the study of marine natural hazards such as megathrust earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes. We propose digital image correlation of repeated shipboard sidescan sonar surveys as a measurement of seafloor deformation. We test this method using multibeam surveys collected in two locales: 2500m deep lightly sedimented seafloor on the flank of a spreading ridge and 4300m deep heavily sedimented seafloor far from any plate boundary. Correlation of these surveys are able to recover synthetic displacements in the across-track (range) direction accurate to within 1m and in the along-track (azimuth) direction accurate to within 1-10m. We attribute these accuracies to the inherent resolution of sidescan data being better in the range dimension than the azimuth dimension. These measurements are primarily limited by the accuracy of the ship navigation. Dual-frequency GPS units are accurate to approximate to 10cm, but single-frequency GPS units drift on the order of 1m/h and are insufficient for geodetic application.

2008
Becker, JJ, Sandwell DT.  2008.  Global estimates of seafloor slope from single-beam ship soundings. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 113   10.1029/2006jc003879   AbstractWebsite

Rough topography on the ocean floor is a source of ocean mixing which is of interest to both physical oceanography and climate science. Most mixing has been attributed to high slopes of the large-scale structures of the deep ocean floor such as seamounts, continental margins, and mid-ocean ridge axes. In this paper, we show the small-scale but ubiquitous abyssal hills and fracture zones dominate the global map of rough topography. Much of this rugged seafloor occurs in the Southern Ocean on the flanks of the Pacific-Antarctic Rise and Southwest Indian Ridge. We present our results as a global map of the mean slope of the ocean floor, and as a global map of the ocean floor above the M(2) critical slope. We compare our results to multibeam and satellite bathymetry data to show that satellite bathymetry is not a valid proxy for multibeam measurements, but edited single-beam sonar data are adequate to provide a global perspective on features with horizontal wavelengths as small as 2 km.

2004
Sandwell, D, Rosen P, Moore W, Gurrola E.  2004.  Radar interferometry for measuring tidal strains across cracks on Europa. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 109   10.1029/2004je002276   AbstractWebsite

A major uncertainty in understanding the interaction between the surface of Europa and its ocean below is the present-day activity of fractures. Using well-constrained models for tidal strain and a force balance in a cracked shell, we estimate the shear and normal displacement of cracks that penetrate upward from the base of the shell. If more than half of the plate is fractured, then surface displacements having amplitudes of 3 to 30 cm will be localized in a band 1 to 100 km from the crack. Plate spreading will occur if more than similar to85% of the plate is fractured. The pattern of deformation is sensitive to both the percentage of plate that is cracked and the total thickness of the shell. Repeat-pass radar interferometry could easily detect and map the activity of the cracks during a short experiment from a variety of suitable orbits with repeating ground tracks.

1992
McKenzie, D, Ford PG, Johnson C, Parsons B, Sandwell D, Saunders S, Solomon SC.  1992.  Features on Venus Generated by Plate Boundary Processes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets. 97:13533-13544.   10.1029/92JE01350   AbstractWebsite

Various observations suggest that there are processes on Venus that produce features similar to those associated with plate boundaries on Earth. Synthetic aperture radar images of Venus, taken with a radar whose wavelength is 12.6 cm, are compared with GLORIA images of active plate boundaries, obtained with a sound source whose wavelength is 23 cm. Features similar to transform faults and to abyssal hills on slow and fast spreading ridges can be recognized within the Artemis region of Venus but are not clearly visible elsewhere. The composition of the basalts measured by the Venera 13 and 14 and the Vega 2 spacecraft corresponds to that expected from adiabatic decompression, like that which occurs beneath spreading ridges on Earth. Structures that resemble trenches are widespread on Venus and show the same curvature and asymmetry as they do on Earth. These observations suggest that the same simple geophysical models that have been so successfully used to understand the tectonics of Earth can also be applied to Venus.

1991
Marks, KM, Sandwell DT, Vogt PR, Hall SA.  1991.  Mantle Downwelling beneath the Australian-Antarctic Discordance Zone - Evidence from Geoid Height Versus Topography. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 103:325-338.   10.1016/0012-821x(91)90170-m   AbstractWebsite

The Australian-Antarctic discordance zone (AAD) is an anomalously deep and rough segment of the Southeast Indian Ridge between 120-degrees and 128-degrees-E. A large, negative (deeper than predicted) depth anomaly is centered on the discordance, and a geoid low is evident upon removal of a low-order geoid model and the geoid height-age relation. We investigate two models that may explain these anomalies: a deficiency in ridge-axis magma supply that produces thin oceanic crust (i.e. shallow Airy compensation), and a downwelling and/or cooler mantle beneath the AAD that results in deeper convective-type compensation. To distinguish between these models, we have calculated the ratio of geoid height to topography from the slope of a best line fit by functional analysis (i.e. non-biased linear regression), a method that minimizes both geoid height and topography residuals. Geoid/topography ratios of 2.1 +/- 0.9 m/km for the entire study area (38-degrees-60-degrees-S, 105-degrees-140-degrees-E), 2.3 +/- 1.8 m/km for a subset comprising crust less-than-or-equal-to 25 Ma, and 2.7 +/- 2.0 m/km for a smaller area centered on the AAD were obtained. These ratios are significantly larger than predicted for thin oceanic crust (0.4 m/km), and 2.7 m/km is consistent with downwelling convection beneath young lithosphere. Average compensation depths of 27, 29, and 34 km, respectively, estimated from these ratios suggest a mantle structure that deepens towards the AAD. The deepest compensation (34 km) of the AAD is below the average depth of the base of the young lithosphere (approximately 30 km), and a downwelling of asthenospheric material is implied. The observed geoid height-age slope over the discordance is unusually gradual at -0.133 m/m.y. We calculate that an upper mantle 170-degrees-C cooler and 0.02 g/cm3 denser than normal can explain the shallow slope. Unusually fast shear velocities in the upper 200 km of mantle beneath the discordance, and major-element geochemical trends consistent with small amounts of melting at shallow depths, provide strong evidence for cooler temperatures beneath the AAD.