Alaska Bathymetry: Norton Sound
Bathymetry of Norton Sound
As a continuation of work in Alaskan waters, scientists with the AFSC’s Groundfish Assessment Program (GAP) have published smooth sheet bathymetry for Norton Sound, Alaska. This work is part of a project using smooth sheets to provide better seafloor information for fisheries research.
The Norton Sound project includes smooth sheet bathymetry editing, the digitizing of sediments, inshore features, and shoreline, as well as incorporating higher resolution multibeam bathymetry data, where available, to supersede some areas of older, lower resolution smooth sheet bathymetry.
Over 230,000 National Ocean Service (NOS) bathymetric soundings from 39 smooth sheet surveys in Norton Sound were corrected, digitized, and assembled, as well as over 6000 soundings from a GAP research cruise, and three NOS multibeam surveys. The bathymetry compilation ranged geographically from the eastern point of St. Lawrence Island, southeast to the Yukon River delta and north along the Seward Peninsula and around the point of Cape Prince of Wales.
Our Norton Sound coverage is very shallow, with a maximum depth of 63 meters in the outer waters along the Bering Sea, while the sound itself, bounded by the westernmost point on the Yukon River delta along the south and Nome on the North, has an average depth of just 13 meters. The original, uncorrected smooth sheet bathymetry data sets are available from the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), which archives and distributes data that were originally collected by the NOS and others. These data are not to be used for navigational purposes.
The NMFS Alaska Regional Office's Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and Habitat and Ecological Processes Research (HEPR) funding made this work possible. This Norton Sound bathymetry and sediment work was done in response to a NMFS AKRO (Alaska Regional Office) request to provide information for a new predictive modeling effort examining Norton Sound red king crab and potential effects of offshore marine mining activities on their habitat. The Alaska Regional Office will also investigate use of the bathymetry and sediment information to oversee sustainable fisheries, conduct Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) reviews, and manage protected species. This Norton Sound bathymetry compilation is part of a GAP (Groundfish Assessment Program) effort to create more detailed bathymetry and sediment maps in order to provide a better understanding of how studied animals interact with their environment