Seafloor Mapping of the Southeast Iberian Continental Slope and Western Algero-Balearic Abyssal Plain
Abstract:We present the multibeam bathymetry and derived maps of the southeast Iberian margin from Cabo de Palos to Cabo de Gata, 37º35’N to 35º45’N and 2º10’W to 0º20’E, from the coastline down to the Algero-Balearic abyssal plain at depths exceeding 2,600 m. Data were obtained during different surveys in 2004, 2006 and 2007 on board R/V Vizconde de Eza with a Simrad EM300 multibeam echo-sounder, as part of the CAPESME Project, a collaboration between the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and General Secretariat of Fisheries (SGP), aiming at creating maps of the fishing grounds of the Mediterranean continental margins of Spain. The edition of the maps has been carried out within the Complementary Action VALORPLAT (Scientific valorisation of multibeam bathymetry data from the Spanish continental shelf and slope), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. Multibeam bathymetry data from the continental shelf obtained within the ESPACE project, also in a cooperative frame between IEO and SGP, completes the whole picture from the coastline to the deep abyssal plain.
The map series is constituted by a general map at 1:400,000 scale and 14 detailed maps at 1:75,000 scale, which include inset maps on slope gradients and seafloor nature (rock or sediment type), the later obtained with rock dredges and Shipeck sediment dredges. Both the detailed maps and the general map are available in paper print, and the whole collection is also distributed in an edited USB.
The geological features displayed in the different maps include the continental shelf, with abundant geomorphic features indicative of past sea-level changes, the continental slope carved by a large number of submarine canyons and gullies, including Palos, Tiñoso, Cartagena Este, Cartagena Oeste, Águilas, Almanzora, Alias, Garrucha and Gata submarine canyons, the Mazarrón, Palomares and Al-Mansour escarpments of probable tectonic origin, the Abubácer, Maimonides and Yusuf ridges, the Águilas and Al-Mansour seamounts, and the Algero-Balearic abyssal plain where prominent halokinetic deformation structures have been observed.