Multibeam Mapping of the Pinnacles Region, Gulf of Mexico


Recent USGS mapping shows an extensive deep (~100 m) reef tract occurs on the Mississippi-Alabama outer continental shelf (Figure 1). The tract, known as "The Pinnacles", is apparently part of a sequence of drowned reef complexes along the "40-fathom" shelf edge of the northern Gulf of Mexico (Ludwick and Walton, 1957). It is critical to determine the accurate geomorphology of these deep-reefs because of their importance as benthic habitats for fisheries. The Pinnacles have previously been mapped using a single-beam echo sounder (Ludwick and Walton,1957), sidescan sonar (Laswell et al., 1990), and the TAMU2 towed single-beam sidescan-sonar system (Anonymous, 1999). These existing studies do not provide the quality of geomorphic data necessary for reasonable habitat studies.

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U.S. Geological Survey

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