9-11 September 1991

Tokyo, Japan

Publication of the Folio Atlas of the Atlantic Ocean

is announced. Progress on the companion Atlas

of the Pacific Ocean is reviewed with major contributions

from Japanese Ocean Scientists and Agencies. Advances

in survey instrumentation and computer data handling and

display mean higher resolution and more detailed

coverage in Western Pacific.

by Pat Wilde


Under the chairmanship of Acad. G. Udintsev, editor in chief, the International Geological-Geophysical Atlas of the Pacific editorial board met from 9-11 September 1991 at the Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. This atlas sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is the third in a series with initially the Indian Ocean (1975) and most recently the Atlantic Ocean (1991) Atlases being published. The atlas series is being compiled and produced in Moscow with text, captions, and legends in both Russian and English. The Pacific Atlas is projected to be about 200 folio size pages. As of June 1991, 114 geologic, geophysical or geochemical topics are to be depicted as maps, profiles and suitable diagrams. Maps showing total oceanic features will be at 1:30 million or 1:10 million. Regional maps of areas such as marginal seas will at 1:5 million. Special study areas like the Juan de Fuca Ridge will be at appropriate larger scales. In addition to the conventional maps, etc., there will be sections on the History of the Cartography of the Oceans, Research Ships contributing data, and discussions on the Development of New Research Techniques including: i. Progress in Navigation; ii. Acoustic Sea Floor Mapping Systems; iii. Reflection Seismic Surveying; iv. Deep Seismic Studies by Refraction Methods; v. Magsat maps; vi. Measurement of Gravity at Sea; vii. Methods in Geothermal Studies of the Ocean Floor; viii. Deep Sea Drilling; ix. submersibles; x. Tomography and xi. Bottom Topography-Source Materials. Three appendices showing A. World Ocean Bathymetry, B. Magnetic Lineations of the World's Ocean Basins, and C. World Seismicity 1979-1988 will complete the Atlas. A publication date of late 1993 to early 1994 is planned. As expected for a project of this magnitude (the Pacific Ocean covers half the surface area of the Earth!) the contributors are from a broad spectra of the international oceanographic community.

Board Members in attendance in Japan besides editor Udintsev were deputy editor D.P.D. Scott: (IOC) Paris; B. Lewis: Univ. Washington USA; E. Litvinov: (Inst. Ocean Geology) St. Petersburg, USSR (representing Acad. Gramberg); M. Talwani: Rice Univ. USA; S. Uyeda: Tokai Univ. Tokyo, Japan; and D. Zhiv: Admin. Geodesy and Cartography, Moscow, USSR. This meeting of the Central Editorial Board was to announce the completion of the Atlantic Atlas and to review the status of the Pacific Atlas. Holding the meeting in Japan was particularly useful as the Japanese Ocean Scientists and Agencies are major contributors, not only of data near Japan, but also are doing a major portion of the compilations at both regional and oceanic scales involving data collected by many countries.

Japanese participants making individual presentations discussing specific plates and maps were: A. Asamuna, Chiba University-Sediment Thickness; E. Honza, Geological Survey of Japan-Melanesia; N. Isezaka, Chiba University-Magnetics; M. Ishida, National Research Institute for Earth Sciences and Disaster Prevention-Seismicity; H. Kinoshita, Earthquake Research Institute-Okinawa Trough; K. Nemoto, Tokai University-Sediment Thickness; N. Sugi, Kyoritsu Women's University-Seismicity; K. Suyehiro, Ocean Research Institute-Nankai Trough, Japan Trench, Crustal Structure; S. Tani, Maritime Safety Agency-SeaBeam 2000 surveys, general bathymetry of Western Pacific; and Y. Tsujj, Earthquake Research Institute-Tsunamis.

Of particular interest were the presentations on Sediment Thickness, SeaBeam Surveys, and Seismicity. Dr. Nemoto of the Faculty of Oceanography - Tokai University described a PC based system whereby sediment thickness data from various sources and quality could be assessed merged and plotted via a ranking system program. This method seems a logical approach to a thorny problem of integrating survey data taken at various times, by different ships using a wide array of equipment and displaying it on a single computer-generated base. Dr. Tani of the Japanese Hydrographic Department showed advanced copies of the bathymetric charts being prepared by the Maritime Safety Agency for the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone. The charts with the accompanying magnetics and gravity were of such high quality and resolution that they were essentially text-book visual examples of different types of Marine Geologic and Plate Tectonic features. Dr. Ishida, National Research Center for Disaster Prevention, and Dr. Sugi, Kyoritsu Women's University, displayed color three-dimensional plots of seismic epicenters for Japan and the Peru-Chile Trench areas and a novel plot of seismic activity in the Western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean on a globe. With the use of red-green glasses, these 3-D pictures were vivid portrayals of the subducting plates, plate boundaries and the structure of Benihoff zones.

The panel tentatively plans to meet next year at either the International Geologic Congress in Kyoto, Japan or in Hawaii to discuss further progress in the preparation of the Pacific Atlas.


The author wishes to thank Dr. Uyeda, Dr. Udintsev, and Dr. Scott for their kindness in inviting me to attend the panel meetings as an observer. Also, great credit is due to the Director, Dr. Tomio, and his staff at the Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo for their many courtesies as gracious hosts of the meeting.


Pat Wilde joined the staff of the Office of Naval Research Asian Office in July 1991 as a Liaison Scientist specializing in Ocean Sciences. He received his Ph.D in Geology from Harvard University in 1965. Since 1964, he has been affileated with the University of California Berkeley in a variety of position and departments, including Chairman of Ocean Engineering from 1968 to 1975 and Head of the Marine Sciences Group at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (1977-1982) and on the Berkeley Campus (1982-1989). He joined the ONR Asian Office after being the Humboldt Prize Winner in Residence at the Technical University of Berlin. Dr. Wilde's speciality is in Paleo-Oceanography and Marine Geochemistry particularly in the Paleozoic and Anoxic Environments. He maintains an interest in Modern Oceanography through his work on deep-sea fans, coastal and deep-sea sediment transport and publication of Oceanographic Data Sheets showing the bathymetry with attendant features off the West Coast of the U.S., Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.