Maps of seabed geomorphology derived from bathymetry data provide foundational information that is used to support the sustainable use of the marine environment across a range of activities that contribute to the Blue Economy. The global recognition of the value of the Blue Economy and several key global initiatives, notably the Seabed 2030 project to map the global ocean and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, are driving the proliferation and open dissemination of these data and derived map products. To effectively support these global efforts, geomorphic characterisation of the seabed requires standardized multi-scalar and interjurisdictional approaches that can be applied locally, regionally and internationally. This document describes and illustrates a geomorphic lexicon for the full range of coastal to deep ocean geomorphic Settings and related Processes that drive the formation, modification and preservation of geomorphic units on the seabed. Terms and Settings/Processes have been selected from the literature and structured to balance established terminology with the need for consistency between the range of geomorphic Settings. This document also presents a glossary of the terms and identifies the insights that can be gained by mapping each unit type, from an applied perspective.
Nanson, Rachel, Arosio, Riccardo, Gafeira, Joana, McNeil, Mardi, Dove, Dayton, Bjarnadóttir, Lilja, Dolan, Margaret, Guinan, Janine, Post, Alix, Webb, John, & Nichol, Scott. (2023). A two-part seabed geomorphology classification scheme; Part 2: Geomorphology classification framework and glossary (Version 1.0) (1.0).
Maintenance and Update Frequency: asNeeded
An ongoing collaboration between geoscience agencies in the United Kingdom (British Geological Survey), Norway (Geological Survey of Norway), Ireland (Geological Survey Ireland and University College Cork) and Australia (Geoscience Australia) has focused on developing a new standardised approach to classifying seafloor geomorphology. Dove et al (2016) initially described a two-part approach for mapping the geomorphology of the seabed. Part 1 is intended to guide the mapping of the seabed surface shape (Morphology), and Part 2 is intended to classify these shapes with their geomorphic interpretation.
· Part 1 (Morphology: Dove et al., 2020) is available as an open access glossary. It contains an illustrated list of terms and definitions that primarily draw on the well-established International Hydrographic Organization standard. Morphology maps can be created by applying Part 1 Morphological terms to bathymetry data.
· Part 2 (Geomorphology) is described in this report. Geomorphic units are structured within geomorphic Settings and Processes and (consistent with Part 1) these terms are primarily sourced from established literature. The application of this second mapping step requires further seabed data and/or contextual information and expert judgement, and is intended to constrain the uncertainty that is inherent to subsurface interpretation to this step.
To support internationally consistent classification and mapping of seafloor geomorphology