Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Earth Sciences: Ocean Mapping

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

James V Gardner


Mulitbeam data of the Atlantic continental margin was used to quantify morphologic parameters of 15 canyon channels between Cape Hatteras and Georges Bank. Detailed morphologic comparison of channel parameters identified two different morphologies; Type I, U- and V-shaped with well-defined channels walls, and Type II, an incised channel bordered by terraces. Eight canyon channels are Type I whereas 7 are mixed Type I and II. Channel wall relief is the foremost differentiating parameter between Type I channels and either decreases with increased distance down-channel or increases to a maximum between the 3250 and 4000 m isobaths. Entrenchment co-occurs with steeper local seafloor slope and may reflect channel equilibrium status. The magnitude of entrenchment may be affected by riverine discharge and confinement. A north-south variation in the magnitude of channel wall relief indicates differences in margin processes. Longitudinal profiles of the channels also show a north-south relationship that reflects regional slopes.