Semiautomatic fracture zone tracking

Paul Wessel*, Kara J. Matthews, R. Dietmar Müller, Aline Mazzoni, Joanne M. Whittaker, Robert Myhill, Michael T. Chandler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Oceanic fracture zone traces are widely used in studies of seafloor morphology and plate kinematics. Satellite altimetry missions have resulted in high-resolution gravity maps in which all major fracture zones and other tectonic fabric can be identified, and numerous scientists have digitized such lineaments. We have initiated a community effort to maintain low-cost infrastructure that allows seafloor fabric lineaments to be stored, accessed, and updated. A key improvement over past efforts is our processing software (released as a GMT5 supplement) that allows for semiautomatic corrections to previously digitized fracture zone traces given improved gridded data sets. Here we report on our seafloor fabric processing tools, which complement our database of seafloor fabric lineations, magnetic anomaly identifications, and plate kinematic models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2462-2472
Number of pages11
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • fracture zones
  • plate tectonics
  • seafloor fabric


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