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Free Content Bathymetry of the Straits of Florida and the Bahama Islands

Part II Bathymetry of the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas

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A bathymetric chart, in two sections, of the Tongue of the Ocean is presented, based on soundings collected in late 1960. The area, roughly L-shaped, extends for over 110 miles into the Great Bahama Bank, between Andros Island to the west and New Providence Island to the east. Slopes appear to be nearly vertical in the upper 100 fathoms, but below this depth they average about 10 to 12 degrees. Gullies run down the slopes at a spacing of about one per mile in the northerly section; perhaps less frequently in the southerly area. The Tongue of the Ocean has a V-shaped cross-section in its northerly part, but for most of its length it has a comparatively flat floor. Off central Andros Island the floor is incised by a small channel, but in the southerly section the floor is quite smooth, with a very slight gradient upward toward the southeast. Bottom depths range from about 1400 fathoms between northern Andros Island and New Providence Island to about 700 fathoms at the southeasterly limit.

Both grabenlike downfaulting and regional subsidence of a former topography on which a trellis-type drainage pattern had been developed have been proposed to account for the origin of the Tongue of the Ocean and the other deep channels of the northwestern Bahamas. Present evidence appears to favor the latter hypothesis but much more stratigraphic and seismic information is needed to settle the problem.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1963

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