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The 'Deschamps Seamount' (named after a deceased scientist of JAMSTEC) has been internationally accepted and registered

2015/12/21
Research and Development Center for Earthquake and Tsunami
Marine Geology and Geophysics Group
Toshiya Fujiwara

At the international conference that establishes the undersea feature names of the world, 27 Japanese proposals have been accepted and registered. One of which was the Deschamps Seamount that has been named after the late Anne Deschamps, who was a scientist at JAMSTEC. This is the third case in which an undersea feature was named after the executives and employees of JAMSTEC, along with the previous cases such as Hotta Seamount and Kobayashi Basin and Ridge Province. (*1)

The Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN) officially establishes the names of undersea features of the world under the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. One of the SCUFN members participating from Japan is Dr. Yasuhiko Obara, the Senior Scientist from the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department of Japan Coast Guard (concurrently holds a position as a Visiting Senior Scientist for the Department of Subsurface Geobiological Analysis and Research of JAMSTEC).

A total of 61 new undersea feature names proposed by each country have been accepted at the SCUFN conference held in Brazil in October 2015, of which 27 were proposed by Japan. (*2)

One of the accepted undersea feature names proposed by Japan, the Deschamps Seamount, has been named after a marine geologist Anne Deschamps (CNRS, Marine European University), who passed away in December 2014.

Dr. Deschamps had been enrolled at the Department of Deep-sea Research (a research unit at the time) of JAMSTEC as a postdoctoral research fellow from 2001 to 2003. Throughout the years she was employed by JAMSTEC, she worked on the study of the West Philippine Sea Basin (*3) and the formative process of the Mariana Trough and the like, in which she had greatly contributed to the elucidation of the Philippine Sea Plate tectonics.

On this occasion, Dr. Toshiya Fujiwara, the Senior Research Scientist of the Research and Development Center for Earthquake and Tsunami, and Dr. Serge Lallemand of the University of Montpellier made a joint proposal to name the seamount in the West Philippine Sea Basin (Fig. 1). This was the area that Dr. Deschamps researched for years. The proposal was accepted by common consent.

The details of the Deschamps Seamount is as stated below. (Fig. 2)
Location: Approximately 600 km south-southwest of Okinotorishima, on the West Philippine Sea Basin, approximately 1,800 km south of Kagoshima
Scale of the Seamount: Approximately 30 km from north to south, 70 km from east to west
Minimum water depth: 4,200 m
Relative elevation: 2,500 m

The Deschamps Seamount is a seamount located at the border of the CBF Rift (submarine graben), which was the undersea spreading axis of the West Philippine Sea Basin. The West Philippine Sea Basin was formed in the Eocene when the seafloor spread at the CBF Rift. Deschamps and her colleagues elucidated the final stage tectonics of the seafloor spreading at the West Philippine Sea Basin by using the data obtained from JAMSTEC's research expeditions.

*1: Hotta Seamount was named after Dr. Hiroshi Hotta, an ocean bottom seismologist and engineer (a former director of JAMSTEC). Its location is approximately 600 km east off the coast of Miyagi (registered in 2006). Kobayashi Basin and Ridge Province was named after Dr. Kazuo Kobayashi, an ocean bottom geophysicist (Honorary Professor of Tokyo University and Research Advisor of JAMSTEC). The area extends approximately 700 – 900 km in the south of Okinotorishima (registered in 2013).

*2: The Press Release of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department of Japan Coast Guard as of 23rd October, 2015.
'The international committee accepts the undersea feature names proposed by Japan' (in Japanese)
http://www1.kaiho.mlit.go.jp/KOKAI/press/H271023_SCUFN28.pdf

General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names (SCUFN)
'28th SCUFN Meeting Summary Report'
http://www.iho.int/mtg_docs/com_wg/SCUFN/SCUFN28/
SCUFN28_Report_final_25Jan2016.pdf

GEBCO Undersea Feature Names Gazetteer
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/gazetteer/

 

*3: The West Philippine Sea Basin is registered as 'Philippine Basin' at SCUFN.

Fig. 1: Bathymetric chart of the south of Japan. The star mark indicates the location of Deschamps Seamount, and the red circle indicates that of the Okinotorishima.

Fig. 2: The bird's-eye view of Deschamps Seamount.
Prepared based on the bathymetric data surveyed by JAMSTEC's research vessels, Kairei and Yokosuka.