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Sea Bed Geoforms in the Argentine Coast Identified by the ERS-SAR Missions: Influences on Ocean Dynamic and Bottom Geomorphology

Domingo Antonio Gagliardini(1), Mariano Tonini(2), Elbio Palma(3) and Eduardo Malagnino(4)

(1) CONICET, Boulevard Brown 2825, 9120 Puerto Madryn, Argentina
(2) Instituto Argentino de Oceanografía, Camino de La Carrindanga 7.5 km, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
(3) Universidad Nacional de Sur, Avenida Alem 1253, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
(4) Departamento de Geología, Univ. de Buenos Aires, Pabellón 2, Ciudad Universitaria, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina


A large number of SAR images from the Argentinean coast were obtained since the launch of the ERS-1(1991) and ERS-2 (1995) satellites. These images cover a broad area along the coastline of about 4900 km, which extends from Buenos Aires (34º36' Sur) to Ushuaia (54º79’ S). Considering that SAR is capable of imaging various types of sea bottom irregularities by detecting changes in sea surface roughness, an historical set of ERS-SAR images was selected and processed to identify sea bed geoforms in the coastal region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Results obtained on the external zones of the San Matías Gulf (40º47' S - 42º13' S), San Jorge Gulf (44º55' S - 47º06' S) and the San Sebastián Bay (53º S - 53º28' S) are presented in this work. Besides, results of actual studies related to these irregularities are discussed. High resolution three-dimensional numerical model (Princeton Ocean Model, POM) products are used to relate this geoforms to particular characteristics of the residual tides currents and tidal energy dissipation (Simpson-Hunter index). Also, tidal fronts detected with thermal satellite sensors in both gulfs, associated with these irregularities are shown. In addition, geomorphological aspects of the ocean bottom in the external zone of the San Sebastián bay linked to a morainic system located in a 50 m depth area, are presented.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry