Characterizing Geomorphological Properties of Western Pacific Seamounts for Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crust Resource Assessment

서태평양 해저산의 망간각 자원평가를 위한 해저지형 특성 분석

  • Joo, Jongmin (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Kim, Jonguk (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Ko, Youngtak (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Kim, Seung-Sep (Department of Geology and Earth Environmental Sciences, Chungnam National University) ;
  • Son, Juwon (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Pak, Sang Joon (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Ham, Dong-Jin (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST) ;
  • Son, Seung Kyu (Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST)
  • 주종민 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 김종욱 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 고영탁 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 김승섭 (충남대학교 지질환경과학과) ;
  • 손주원 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 박상준 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 함동진 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 손승규 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터)
  • Received : 2016.01.13
  • Accepted : 2016.04.15
  • Published : 2016.04.28


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 $5^{\circ}$. 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.


Supported by : 한국해양과학기술원


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