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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Field Activity Details for field activity 1987-018-FA

Other ID: FRNL 87-5

Status: Completed

Organization(s): USGS, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Funding Program(s):

Principal Investigator(s): Kathryn Scanlon Catanach, William Dillon

Affiliate Investigator(s):

Information Specialist(s):

Data Type(s): Sonar: Sidescan, Seismics: Sub Bottom Profiler, Seismics: Air Gun / Water Gun, Seismics: Boomer, Seismics: Bubble Gun, Seismics: Sparker, Environmental Data: Temperature, Location-Elevation: Navigation, Electro-Magnetic: Magnetics

Scientific Purpose/Goals: This cruise was the fifth in a series of five cruises aimed at surveying the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the eastern United States. Permission was granted by the goverment of the Bahamas to extend the survey south into Bahamian waters in order to map prominent geologic features more completely.


Start Port/Location: Norfolk, VA

End Port/Location: Nassau, Bahamas

Start Date: 1987-05-09

End Date: 1987-05-28

Equipment Used: 3.5 kHz, Air gun, XBT, Magnavox satellite positioning system, GLORIA sidescan, Geomechanique streamer, ABC navigation system, Geometrics G-856 magnetometer, Megapulse Accufix 500 LORAN-C, Northstar 7000 LORAN-C

Information to be Derived: Sea floor map; Morphology;

Summary of Activity and Data Gathered: The main survey instrument was GLORIA II, a long-range sidescan sonar system that is well suited to deep-water reconnaissance mapping of large areas. A seismic reflection profiler, magnetometer, and 3.5 and 10 kHz echo sounders were operated simultaneously with the GLORIA system throughout most of the cruise. Superb weather conditions and minimum equipment down time combined to make a most successful cruise. About three days were spent surveying gaps in the previous cruise's coverage. Of the remaining 14 days, 12 were spent surveying the Blake Plateau and Escarpment within the U.S. EEZ and 2 were used to survey the southern extension of the escarpment into Bahamian waters. The GLORIA system was run well into the Northeast Providence Channel before docking at Nassau. Figure 1 shows the ship's tracks for the entire cruise. Preliminary mosaics of the overlapping GLORIA image data were built by hand onboard the ship. A photograph of the southern part of the mosaic, which includes all of the imagery collected in Bahamian waters, is shown in Figure 2. Further corrections and enhancements will be done at the shore facility in Woods Hole where a digital mosaic can be produced. United States Ambassador Hallett held a reception for the Governor General of the Bahamas onboard the FARNELLA at the Nassau dock. The guest list included: Governor General, His Excellency Sir Gerald Cash; His Excellency the British High Commissioner Mr. Mays; Minister of Economic Affairs Alfred Maycock; Commodore Leon Smith, Royal Bahamas Defense Force; Mr. Francis Garraway, Dept. of Lands & Surveys; Mr. Ronald Thompson, Dir., Dept. of Agriculture, Fisheries & Cooperatives; Mr. Colyn Higgs, Dep. Dir., Dept. of Agriculture, Fisheries & Cooperatives; Mrs. Judy Blair, College of the Bahamas, Natural Science Div.; Ms. Joy Chaplin, College of the Bahamas, Natural Science Div.; Mr. Peter Key, Government High School; Mr. Gary Lawson, Bahamas National Trust; Mr. Richard Kench, Ministry of Works; and Mrs. Camille Cartwright, Ministry of Economic Affairs. GLORIA sidescan sonar: 6419 km; Airgun: 6419 km; 3.5 kHz: 6419 km; 10 kHz: 6419 km; XBT: 23; Magnetics: 6419 km.

Staff: Kathryn Scanlon Catanach, Page Valentine, William Dillon

Affiliate Staff:
Linda Sheetz
Renato Diaz
Michael Boyle; Inst. Of Oceanographic Sciences
U.K.: Quentin Huggett
Derek Bishop
Christopher Flewellen
Doriel Jones
Graham Lake
Emma Woodward

Notes: A large part of the survey area is covered by the Blake Plateau, a broad, shallow (800-1200 m) carbonate bank that lies east of Florida and north of Grand Bahama and Great Abaco Islands. The eastern edge of the plateau is bounded by a nearly vertical 3500 m cliff called the Blake Escarpment. Original Center People field contained: William Dillon, Kathy Scanlon, Page Valentine, Linda Sheetz, Renato Diaz, Michael Boyle.
Project = GLORIA Survey, GLORIA Survey


Hatteras Canyon, Continental slope and rise, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Blake Plateau, Blake Escarpment, United States EEZ, Northeast Providence Channel, Bahamas, North America, North Atlantic;

North: 34.75 South: 25 West: -79 East: -71.25


photo of Farnella


Chaytor, J.D., Twichell, D.C., ten Brink, U.S., Buczkowski, B.J. and Andrews, B.D., 2007, Revisiting submarine mass movements along the U.S. Atlantic continental margin; implications for tsunami hazards, in V. Lykousis, D. Sakellariou, and J. Locat, eds., Submarine mass movements and their consequences: Springer, Netherlands, .

Chaytor, J.D., ten Brink, Uri S., Solow, Andrew R., and Andrews, Brian D., 2009, Size distribution of submarine landslides along the U.S. Atlantic margin: Marine Geology, v. 264 no. 1-2, doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2008.08.007.

Geist, E.L., Lynett, Patrick J., and Chaytor, Jason D., 2009, Hydrodynamic modeling of tsunamis from the Currituck landslide: Marine Geology, v. 264 no. 1-2, doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2008.09.005.

Lubinski, D., Hughes-Clarke, John, Dillon, William, O'Leary, Dennis, Popenoe, Peter, Robb, James, and Schmuck, Eric, 1990, Magnetic and bathymetric data from R/V FARNELLA Cruises FRNL87-1, 87-2, 87-3, 87-4, and 87-5 in the U.S. Atlantic Margin EEZ, southern Blake Escarpment, and Nova Scotia continental rise: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-254, 11 p., URL:

Popenoe, P., and Manheim, F.T., 2001, Origin and history of the Charleston Bump--geological formations, currents, bottom conditions, and their relationship to Wreckfish habitats on the Blake Plateau, in Sedberry, G.R., ed., Island in the Stream--Oceanography and Fisheries of the Charleston Bump: American Fisheries Society Symposium, v. 25.

ten Brink, U.S., Barkan, R., Andrews, B.D., and Chaytor, J.D., 2009, Size distributions and failure initiation of submarine and subaerial landslides: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 287 no. 1-2, doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2009.07.031.

Twichell, D.C., Paskevich, V., Delorey, C.,, 1998, GLORIA sidescan-sonar field data and navigation data collected off Puerto Rico in 1985 and the eastern United States in 1987: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-619, CD-ROM, URL:

Twichell, D.C., Chaytor, Jason D., ten Brink, Uri S., and Buczkowski, Brian, 2009, Morphology of late Quaternary submarine landslides along the U.S. Atlantic continental margin: Marine Geology, v. 264 no. 1-2, doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2009.01.009.


Data Acquired

Survey EquipmentSurvey InfoData Type(s)Data Collected
GLORIA sidescan --- Sidescan
1987-018-FA-SO-002 ( Digital tape(s) of RAW GLORIA, SEIS, NV-BATHY-MAG, PROCESSED GLORIA, )
GLORIA sidescan data ( )
1987-018-FA-SO-001 ( Collection of paper record displays of sidescan sonar data for lines )
3.5 kHz --- Sub Bottom Profiler
NGDC MGD77 data ( )
Air gun --- Air Gun / Water Gun
Geomechanique streamer --- Temperature
1987-018-FA-SE-001 ( microfilm of )
XBT --- Temperature
ABC navigation system --- Navigation
1987-018-FA-LN-002-01 ( Navigation file containing two-minute fixes. )
1987-018-FA-LN-001-03 ( Trackline map colored by leg for FARNELLA cruises 87-1, 87-2, 87-3, 87-4, and 87-5. )
1987-018-FA-LN-001-01 ( Trackline map with days and one-hour ticks for 87-5 on 3 sheets.)
1987-018-FA-LN-001-02 ( Trackmap for US East Coast FARNELLA cruises 87-1 (FA 87004), 87-2 (FA 87008), 87-3 (FA 87010), 87-4 (FA 87015), and 87-5 (FA 87018).)
Nav data ( )
Geometrics G-856 magnetometer --- Magnetics
NGDC MGD77 data ( )
Northstar 7000 LORAN-C --- Navigation
Megapulse Accufix 500 LORAN-C --- Navigation
Magnavox satellite positioning system --- Navigation

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