Landforms are shaped by tectonics and climate, which control deformation, deposition, and erosion at the fluid/solid interface. The recent re-emergence of geomorphology was spurred by the realization that the shape of the land is not only the result of many processes, but it also affects them. Tectonics builds mountains and geomorphic agents and climate conditions modify them. Thus geomorphologic processes and tectonics are major agents of change and landform is the variable that links them, the expression of a steady-state equilibrium controlled by multiple feed-backs. Measuring and parameterizing the shape of the landscape is the first step in understanding many natural processes critical to environment, such as terrain instability and fluid circulation. Furthermore, a multidimensional parameterization of the land surface (e.g., geomorphic indices) is useful in comparing different landforms and in isolating the effect of specific factors, such as the level of tectonic activity. So far geomorphology has dealt primarily with land areas, but an expansion to the sub-aqueous environment is already in the making due to high-resolution bathymetry increase. This research compares submarine and land morphology as they manifest tectonics in a rapidly transform continental margin. To this end the research has analyzed high-resolution multibeam bathymetry to interpret modern submarine processes from a study of geomorphic change. This research is applied on the Monterey Bay (California) due to the complex geomorphology of both the Coast Ranges and the seafloor. Tectonic has controlled the evolution and the present geometry of the branches and meanders of the Monterey Canyon system, one of the largest submarine canyon systems in the world. In particular the Monterey Canyon is an erosional, presently active feature, which has resulted from both canyon cutting and mass wasting. The deeper parts of the canyon have been progressively offset from the headward part by strike-slip faulting, and are now located in northern Monterey Bay. In this context a clear understanding of the physical processes Morphology and forcing agents of the Monterey Canyon that trigger submarine slumps has been the basis of the research. The high-resolution multibeam record of the seafloor of the MBR collected by MBARI will be analyzed to measure the parameters describing the geometry of the submarine canyons of the Monterey Canyon System. Our quantitative eomorphologic analysis will include slope angle, sinuosity, and width of the canyon axis and of the thalweg. The interpretation of these geomorphologic parameters will help to define active processes along the submarine canyons of the MBR and to unveil the relationships between continental deformation and canyon formation in a transform continental margin. Moreover, to broaden constraints on geophysical properties and evolution of the area, we had used landform surface high resolution DEM.
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