Characterizing the Seabed: a Geoscience Perspective [chapter]

Alvar Braathen, Harald Brekke
2020 The Law of the Seabed  
Introduction The sea with its seabed has assets that have become extensively exploited as a source for food, energy and transport. Traditionally, the advancements of mankind on land have been more successful than in the oceans, mostly due to a physical setting that challenges easy-access and low-cost operations. However, this is gradually changing under the combined factors of the depletion of the required new resources as assets on land, and an increasing demand, resulting in an increased
more » ... tion for the oceans. Meanwhile, the oceans remain mostly unknown, could be hostile and are for sure fragile. In this contribution, our aim is not to explore the possibilities laying in the oceans and its seabed as other chapters in this book extensively cover them. Our objective is to inform about the seabed itself and define it, by asking some key questions that geoscientists could answer: What is the seabed made up of? Is the seabed a static entity or will the bed change over time? How could human activity influence the physical consistency of the seabed? These questions are basic but compulsory if one wish to implement a regulatory regime to seabed activities. It may be obvious, but decision-makers have to know what they regulate. 2 What Characterizes the Seabed? The term seabed refers to the top-surface of earth in seas and oceans, also known as the seafloor or ocean floor. This surface has a topography, which is directly related to the nature of its subsurface geology, in places modified by ocean currents and sedimentary processes. Both the topography and the subsurface are important factors in the use of the seabed by humankind. From a resource perspective, humankind determines how resources from the seabed may be exploited and its resources distributed or protected by preventing Alvar Braathen and Harald Brekke -9789004391567 Downloaded from Brill.com05/05/2020 08:40:06PM via free access
doi:10.1163/9789004391567_003 fatcat:5xmxsnopbvhctf55avmehel6de