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Characterizing Geomorphological Properties of Western Pacific Seamounts for Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crust Resource Assessment
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  • Journal title : Economic and Environmental Geology
  • Volume 49, Issue 2,  2016, pp.121-134
  • Publisher : The Korean Society of Economic and Environmental Geology
  • DOI : 10.9719/EEG.2016.49.2.121
 Title & Authors
Characterizing Geomorphological Properties of Western Pacific Seamounts for Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crust Resource Assessment
Joo, Jongmin; Kim, Jonguk; Ko, Youngtak; Kim, Seung-Sep; Son, Juwon; Pak, Sang Joon; Ham, Dong-Jin; Son, Seung Kyu;
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We characterize the spatial distribution of Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts covering the summit and slopes of a seamount in the western Pacific, using acoustic backscatter from multibeam echo sounders (MBES) and seafloor video observation. Based on multibeam bathymetric data, we identify that ~70% of the summit area of this flattopped seamount has slope gradients less than . The histogram of the backscatter intensity data shows a bi-modal distribution, indicating significant variations in seabed hardness. On the one hand, visual inspection of the seafloor using deep-sea camera data exhibits that the steep slope areas with high backscatter are mainly covered by manganese crusts. On the other hand, the visual analyses for the summit reveal that the summit areas with relatively low backscatter are covered by sediments. The other summit areas, however, exhibit high acoustic reflectivity due to coexistence of manganese crusts and sediments. Comparison between seafloor video images and acoustic backscatter intensity suggests that the central summit has relatively flat topography and low backscatter intensity resulting from unconsolidated sediments. In addition, the rim of the summit and the slopes are of high acoustic reflectivity because of manganese crusts and/or bedrock outcrops with little sediments. Therefore, we find a strong correlation between the acoustic backscatter data acquired from sea-surface multibeam survey and the spatial distribution of sediments and manganese crusts. We propose that analyzing acoustic backscatter can be one of practical methods to select optimal minable areas of the ferromanganese crusts from seamounts for future mining.
ferromanganese crust;seamount;acoustic survey;acoustic backscatter;seafloor video observation;
 Cited by
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