National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2001

Bathymetric map of the Gorda Plate: Structural and geomorphological processes inferred from multibeam surveys

Dziak, R.P., C.G. Fox, A.M. Bobbitt, and C. Goldfinger

Mar. Geophys. Res., 22(4), 235–250, doi: 10.1023/A:1014606407111 (2001)

Full-coverage multibeam bathymetric maps of the southern section of the Juan de Fuca Plate, also known as the Gorda Plate, are presented. The bathymetric maps represent the compilation of multibeam surveys conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during the last 20 yrs, and illustrate the complex tectonic, volcanic, and geomorphologic features as well as the intense deformation occurring within this region. The bathymetric data have revealed several major, previously unmapped midplate faults. A series of gently curving faults are apparent in the Gorda Plate, with numerous faults offsetting the Gorda Plate seafloor. The multibeam surveys have also provided a detailed view of the intense deformation occurring within the Gorda Plate. A preliminary deformation model estimated from basement structure is discussed, where the southern part of the plate (south of ~42°30′N) seems to be deforming through a series of left-lateral strike-slip faults, while the northern section appears to be moving passively with the rest of the Juan de Fuca Plate. The bathymetry also demonstrates the Mendocino and Eel Canyons are prominent morphologic features in the northern California margin. These canyons are active depositional features with a large sediment fan present at the mouths of both the Mendocino and Eel canyons. The depositional lobes of these fan(s) are evident in the bathymetry, as are the turbidite channels that have deposited sediment along the fans over time. The Trinidad Canyon is readily evident in the margin morphology as well, with a large (~10 km) plunge pool formed at the mouth of the canyon as it enters the Gorda Plate sediments.

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