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The world’s largest submarine canyon—Kroenke Canyon in the Western Equatorial Pacific


Coffin, M and Adams, N and Whittaker, J and Lucieer, V and Heckman, M and Ketter, T and Neale, J and Reyes, A and Travers, A, The world's largest submarine canyon Kroenke Canyon in the Western Equatorial Pacific, American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Program, 14-18 December, San Francisco, USA, pp. OS21A-1953. (2015) [Conference Extract]

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Kroenke Canyon lies on the Ontong Java Plateau (OJP) in the western Equatorial Pacific, between the Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. In late 2014 aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s RV Falkor, we mapped, albeit incompletely, the Canyon for the first time, revealing that it is both the longest (>700 km) and the most voluminous (>6800 km3) submarine canyon yet discovered on Earth. Kroenke Canyon appears to originate in the vicinity of Ontong Java (Solomon Islands) and Nukumanu (Papua New Guinea) atolls, and presumably began to develop when the atolls were high-standing volcanic islands surmounting the ~120 Ma igneous basement of the OJP. The Canyon is characterised by numerous tributaries and significant mass wasting. Kroenke Canyon incises the layer-cake stratigraphy of OJP sediment and sedimentary rock, mostly carbonate with some interbedded chert, which has provided numerous slip surfaces for submarine landslides. The carbonate compensation depth (CCD) roughly coincides with the depth of the transition between the OJP and the neighbouring Nauru Basin. As a result, despite the large volume of sediment eroded and transported by canyon-forming processes, only a minor fan is evident in the Nauru Basin because most of the carbonate has dissolved.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:multibeam bathymetry
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Geomatic engineering
Research Field:Surveying (incl. hydrographic surveying)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Coffin, M (Professor Mike Coffin)
UTAS Author:Adams, N (Mr Nicholas Adams)
UTAS Author:Whittaker, J (Associate Professor Jo Whittaker)
UTAS Author:Lucieer, V (Dr Vanessa Lucieer)
UTAS Author:Travers, A (Ms Amelia Travers)
ID Code:105226
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-12-15
Last Modified:2016-01-05

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