U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Cruise to Map Northern Sections of Northern Mariana Islands Continental Shelf

TitleU.S. Extended Continental Shelf Cruise to Map Northern Sections of Northern Mariana Islands Continental Shelf
Publication TypeReport
AuthorsArmstrong, AA, Masetti, G
Number of Pages145
Date PublishedOctober 30
Organization NameCenter for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center
LocationDurham, NH

This report describes a 32-day Extended Continental Shelf-related bathymetry cruise to the Northern Mariana Islands Continental Shelf plus a 13-day extension of the cruise conducted by Fugro contract personnel following debarkation of the NOAA and University of New Hampshire personnel. The mapping area on this cruise will junction with Extended Continental Shelf Project data acquired by NOAA and the University of New Hampshire in 2006, 2007, and 2010, with bathymetry acquired by Okeanos Explorer in 2016, with bathymetry outside the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that was generously provided to NOAA by Japan Coast Guard in 2016, and with miscellaneous bathymetric data from the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) multibeam bathymetry archive. A study of the U.S. data holdings pertinent to the formulation of U.S. potential definition of an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) identified areas where new bathymetric surveys are needed (Mayer, et al., 2002). The report recommended that multibeam echo sounder (MBES) data are needed to rigorously define an extended continental shelf. The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct research on ECS topics including new surveys and archive the resultant data.

This is the 5th Extended Continental Shelf Project cruise to the Mariana Islands region. Earlier cruises were completed in 2006, 2007, and 2010 (Gardner 2006, Gardner 2007, Gardner 2010, Armstrong, 2011). NOAA entered into a contract with Fugro Pelagos, Inc., who provided the 75-m, 2065-ton M.V. Fugro Supporter with a hull-mounted Kongsberg Maritime EM122 MBES and an Edgetech 3300 HM (hull-mounted) chirp sub-bottom profiler. In addition to the ship and associated sensors, Fugro provided three science technicians for technical support of the cruise, and an onboard survey representative. Under the guidance of the NOAA Joint Hydrographic Center Chief Scientist, NOAA and UNH provided the science party who carried out the data acquisition and onboard data processing for both the EM122 and the 3300. The 32-day cruise began and ended in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and included a 3-day mid-cruise port call in Saipan for engineering and multibeam repairs. The 13-day extension began in Saipan and ended at sea when the Fugro team aboard Fugro Supporter completed their additional mapping effort and the ship began a transit to Palau. The survey data included multibeam bathymetry, backscatter, and full-water column data, as well as high-resolution CHIRP sub-bottom profiling (SBP).

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