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  • This is a compilation of all the bathymetry data that GA holds in its database for the area that covers the Diamantina Fracture Zone to the Naturaliste Plateau. This dataset consist of different 6X4 degrees tiles that are: Tiles SI48,SJ48,SK48,SL48, SI47,SJ47, SK47,SL47, SJ46,SK46,SL46, SK45 and SL45)

  • Geoscience Australia (GA) has an active research interest in using multibeam bathymetry, backscatter data and their derivatives together with geophysical data, sediment samples, biological specimens and underwater video/still footage to create seabed habitat maps. This allows GA to provide spatial information about the physical and biological character of the seabed to support management of the marine estate. The main advantage of using multibeam systems over other techniques is that they provide spatially continuous maps that can be used to relate to physical samples and video observations. Here we present results of a study that aims to reliably and repeatedly delineate hard and soft seabed substrates using bathymetry, backscatter and their derivatives. Two independent approaches to the analysis of multibeam data are tested: (i) a two-stage classification-based clustering method, based solely on acoustic backscatter angular response curves, is used to derive a substrate type map. (ii) a prediction-based classification is produced using the Random Forest method based on bathymetry, backscatter data and their derivatives, with support from video and sediment data. Data for the analysis were collected by Geoscience Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine Science on the Van Dieman Rise in the Timor Sea using RV Solander. The mapped area is characterised by carbonate banks, ridges and terraces that form hardground with patchy sediment cover, and valleys and plains covered by muddy sediment. Results from the clustering method of hard and soft seabed types yielded classification accuracies of 78 - 87% when evaluated against seabed types as observed in underwater video. The prediction-based approach achieved a classification accuracy of 92% based on 10-fold cross-validation. These results are consistent with the current state of knowledge on geoacoustics. Patterns associated with geomorphic facies and biological categories are also observed. These results demonstrate the utility of acoustic data to broadly and objectively characterise the seabed substrate and thereby inform our understanding of the distribution of key habitat types.

  • Short contribution to "Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms"

  • Geoscience Australia provides spatial information of seabed environment to support Australian marine zone management. Central to this approach is the prediction of Australia's seabed biodiversity from spatially continuous data of seabed biophysical properties. Seabed hardness is an important environmental property for predicting marine biodiversity and is often inferred from multibeam backscatter data. Although seabed hardness can be measured based on video images, they are only available at a limited number of sampled locations. In this study, we attempt to predict the spatial distribution of seabed hardness using random forest based on video classification and available marine environmental properties. We illustrate the effects of cross-validation methods including a new cross-validation function on the selection of optimal predictive models. We also test the effects of various predictor sets on the predictive accuracy. This study provides an example for predicting the spatial distribution of environmental properties using random forest in R.

  • The legacy of multiple marine transgressions is preserved in a complex morphology of ridges, mounds and reefs on the Carnarvon continental shelf, Western Australia. High-resolution multibeam sonar mapping, underwater photography and sampling across a 280 km2 area seaward of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area shows that these raised features provide hardground habitat for modern coral and sponge communities. Prominent among these features is a 20 m high and 15 km long shore-parallel ridge at 60 m water depth. This ridge preserves the largely unaltered form of a fringing reef and is interpreted as the predecessor to modern Ningaloo Reef. Landward of the drowned reef, the inner shelf is covered by hundreds of mounds (bommies) up to 5 m high and linear ridges up to 1.5 km long and 16 m high. The ridges are uniformly oriented to the north-northeast and several converge at their landward limit. On the basis of their shape and alignment, these ridges are interpreted as relict long-walled parabolic dunes. Their preservation is attributed to cementation of calcareous sands to form aeolianite, prior to the post-glacial marine transgression. Some dune ridges abut areas of reef that rise to sea level and are highly irregular in outline but maintain a broad shore-parallel trend. These are tentatively interpreted as Last Interglacial in age. The mid-shelf and outer shelf are mostly sediment covered with relatively low densities of epibenthic biota and have patches of low-profile ridges that may also be relict reef shorelines. An evolutionary model for the Carnarvon shelf is proposed that relates the formation of drowned fringing reefs and aeolian dunes to Late Quaternary eustatic sea level.

  • The new acquisition of multibeam bathymetry data along with potential field, seismic data and sediment and rock samples has provided a large quantity of new data in the Northern Lord Howe Rise. A detailed study of the relationships between the surface and sub-surface features over the Capel and Faust basins suggests that seafloor deformation is linked to the underlying basement architecture. Numerous seafloor and sub-surface geological features have been identified and mapped over the study area. Their nature, distribution and relationships have been analysed to propose their formative mechanisms. Most of these features are related to buried igneous intrusions and fluid flow either located within depocentre megasequences or along basement bounding faults. The co-genetic geological features indicate that fluid flow is mainly driven by igneous activity. The ongoing fluid flows, after each magmatic pulse has re-utilised pre-existing fluid conduits. Major depocentres have been identified over the study area and could be prospective for petroleum exploration. Potential source, reservoir and seal rocks are likely to be present in the capel and Faust basins. Volcanic activity has driven the geology and fluid flow over the study area since at least the Upper Cretaceous and has to be considered when assessing the petroleum prospectivity of the Capel and Faust basins and also elsewhere in the Lord Howe Rise.

  • Abstract: The Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census (CEAMARC) surveys to the Terre Adélie and George V shelf and margin highlight the requirement for a revised high resolution depth model that can be used as a spatial tool for improving physical models of the region. We have combined available shiptrack and multibeam bathymetry, coastline and land topographic data to develop a new high-resolution depth model, called GVdem. GVdem spans an area 138°E to 148°E longitude and 63°S to 69°S latitude, with a choice of three ESRI grids with cell pixel sizes: 15 arcsec, 9 arcsec and 3.6 arcsec. The revised depth model is an improvement over previously available regional-scale grids, and highlights seabed physiographic detail not previously observed for this part of East Antarctica. In particular, the extent and complexity of the inner-shelf depressions are revealed and their relationship with large shelf basins and adjacent flat-topped banks.

  • ArcGIS shapefile detailing GA's multibeam bathymetry holdings and coverage.

  • ArcGIS shapefile detailing GA's multibeam bathymetry holdings and coverage.

  • The Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) (>71,000 km2) is located in the Timor Sea and is part of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas of Australia. The Reserve incorporates extensive areas of carbonate banks and terraces that are recognised in the North and North West Marine Region Plans as Key Ecological Features (KEFs). Although poorly studied, these banks and terraces have been identified as potential biodiversity hotspots for the Australian tropical north. As part of the National Environment Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub, Geoscience Australia in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Marine Science undertook a marine biodiversity survey in 2012 to improve the knowledge of this area and better understand the importance of these KEFs. Amongst the many activities undertaken, continuous high-resolution multibeam mapping, video and still camera observations, and physical seabed sampling of four areas covering 510 km2 within the western side of the CMR was completed. Multibeam imagery reveals a high geomorphic diversity in the Oceanic Shoals CMR, with numerous banks and terraces, elevated 30 to 65 m above the generally flat seabed (~105 m water depth), that provide hard substrate for benthic communities. The surrounding plains are characterised by fields of depressions up to 1 m deep (pockmarks) formed in soft silty sediments that are generally barren of any epibenthos (Fig .1). A distinctive feature of many pockmarks is a linear scour mark that extends several tens of metres (up to 150 m) from pockmark depressions. Previous numerical and flume tank simulations have shown that scouring of pockmarks occurs in the direction of the dominant near-seabed flow. These geomorphic features may therefore serve as a proxy for local-scale bottom currents, which may in turn inform on sediment processes operating in these areas and contribute to the understanding of the distribution of biodiversity. This study focused on characterising these seabed scoured depressions and investigating their potential as an environmental proxy for habitat studies. We used ArcGIS spatial analyst tools to quantify the features and explored their potential relationships with other variables (multibeam backscatter, regional modelled bottom stress, biological abundance and presence/absence) to provide insight into their development, and contribute to a better understanding of the environment surrounding carbonate banks. Preliminary results show a relationship between pockmark types, (i.e. with or without scour mark) and backscatter strength. This relationship suggests some additional shallow sub-surface control, mainly related to the presence of buried carbonate banks. In addition, the results suggest that tidal flows are redirected by the banks, leading to locally varied flow directions and 'shadowing' in the lee of the larger banks. This in turn is likely to have an influence on the observed density and abundance of benthic assemblages.