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Sea-Floor Geology of a Part of Mamala Bay, Hawai'i

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Title: Sea-Floor Geology of a Part of Mamala Bay, Hawai'i
Authors: Hampton, Monty A.
Torresan, Michael E.
Barber, John H Jr.
Issue Date: Jan 1997
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press
Citation: Hampton MA, Torresan ME, Barber JH Jr. 1997. Sea-floor geology of a part of Mamala Bay, Hawai'i. Pac Sci 51(1): 54-75.
Abstract: We surveyed the sea-floor geology within a 200-km2 area of Mamala
Bay, off Honolulu, Hawai'i, by collecting and analyzing sidescan sonar images, 3.5kHz
profiles, video and still visual images, and box-core samples. The study area
extends from 20-m water depth on the insular shelf to 600-m water depth in a
southeast-trending trough. The sidescan images depict three principal types of seafloor
material: low-backscatter natural sediment, high-backscatter drowned carbonate
reef, and intermediate-backscatter dredged-material deposits. Cores indicate that
the natural sediment is muddy sand, composed of carbonate reef and microfauna
debris with some volcanic grains. Vague areal trends in composition are evident.
The dredged material comprises poorly sorted, cobble- to clay-size mixtures of reef,
volcanic, and man-made debris, up to 35 cm thick. Dredged-material deposits are
not evident in the 3.5-kHz profiles. In the sidescan images they appear as isolated,
circular to subcircular imprints, apparently formed by individual drops, around the
periphery of their occurrence, but they overlap and coalesce to a nearly continuous,
intermediate-backscatter blanket toward the center of three disposal sites investigated.
We did not observe noticeable currents during our camera surveys, but there
is abundant evidence of sediment reworking: symmetrical and asymmetrical ripples
in the visual images, sand waves in the 3.5-kHz profiles and side-scan images,
moats around the reefs in 3.5-kHz profiles, winnowed dredged material in the visual
images, and burial of dredged material by natural sediment in cores. Most current
indicators imply a westerly to northwesterly transport direction, along contours or
upslope, although there are a few areas of easterly indicators. Internal waves probably
drive the transport; their possible existence is implied by measured water-column
density gradients.
ISSN: 0030-8870
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science Volume 51, Number 1, 1997

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