First returns from 3D exploration surveys have been utilized to display seafloor morphology of the Faroe-Shetland Channel between the UK and the Faroes. The image combines 32 datasets creating a regional perspective of Quaternary sedimentary processes. Geomorphic information is of significance for sea bed geohazard evaluation, environmental studies and as an analogy for former sedimentary environments. The image covers more than 25000 km2 extending from the shelf (water depth ∼ 120 m) to the basin floor (water depth up to ∼ 1600 m).
On any margin knowledge of the sea bed morphology is essential for understanding the environmental setting and for safe operations in deepwater. Under favourable circumstances, the sea bed can be picked from 3D exploration seismic surveys in a similar manner to any other horizon to provide detailed images of the seafloor, thereby negating the need for dedicated sea bed surveys. Combining first returns from several surveys creates a regional perspective, essential when considering importance of features e.g. the rarity of a certain seafloor environment or the presence of a potential landslide upslope from an operations area.
The Faroe-Shetland Channel displays a wide range of sea bed features including, sediment waves, contourite deposits, polygonal cracking, landslides, debris flows, turbidity current channels, glacial moraines and iceberg ploughmarks. Resolving the spatial aspects of these features greatly assists the interpretation of shallow profile data for geohazard and environmental studies and provides a backdrop onto which biologists, oceanographers, sedimentologists and engineers can overlay their data sets and thus their interpretations.