Textural Analysis and Substrate Classification in the Nearshore Region of Lake Superior Using High-Resolution Multibeam Bathymetry

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Textural Analysis and Substrate Classification in the Nearshore Region of Lake Superior Using High-Resolution Multibeam Bathymetry

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Classification of the seafloor substrate can be done with a variety of methods. These methods include Visual (dives, drop cameras); mechanical (cores, grab samples); acoustic (statistical analysis of echosounder returns). Acoustic methods offer a more powerful and efficient means of collecting useful information about the bottom type. Due to the nature of an acoustic survey, larger areas can be sampled, and by combining the collected data with visual and mechanical survey methods provide greater confidence in the classification of a mapped region. During a multibeam sonar survey, both bathymetric and backscatter data is collected. It is well documented that the statistical characteristic of a sonar backscatter mosaic is dependent on bottom type. While classifying the bottom-type on the basis on backscatter alone can accurately predict and map bottom-type, i.e a muddy area from a rocky area, it lacks the ability to resolve and capture fine textural details, an important factor in many habitat mapping studies. Statistical processing of high-resolution multibeam data can capture the pertinent details about the bottom-type that are rich in textural information. Further multivariate statistical processing can then isolate characteristic features, and provide the basis for an accurate classification scheme. The development of a new classification method is described here. It is based upon the analysis of textural features in conjunction with ground truth sampling. The processing and classification result of two geologically distinct areas in nearshore regions of Lake Superior; off the Lester River,MN and Amnicon River, WI are presented here, using the Minnesota Supercomputer Institute's Mesabi computing cluster for initial processing. Processed data is then calibrated using ground truth samples to conduct an accuracy assessment of the surveyed areas. From analysis of high-resolution bathymetry data collected at both survey sites is was possible to successfully calculate a series of measures that describe textural information about the lake floor. Further processing suggests that the features calculated capture a significant amount of statistical information about the lake floor terrain as well. Two sources of error, an anomalous heave and refraction error significantly deteriorated the quality of the processed data and resulting validate results. Ground truth samples used to validate the classification methods utilized for both survey sites, however, resulted in accuracy values ranging from 5 -30 percent at the Amnicon River, and between 60-70 percent for the Lester River. The final results suggest that this new processing methodology does adequately capture textural information about the lake floor and does provide an acceptable classification in the absence of significant data quality issues.


University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. September 2017. Major: Earth Sciences. Advisor: Nigel Wattrus. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 236 pages + 2 supplementary zip files.

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Dennison, Andrew. (2017). Textural Analysis and Substrate Classification in the Nearshore Region of Lake Superior Using High-Resolution Multibeam Bathymetry. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/191180.

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