Drainage-extraction algorithms traditionally used for extracting river networks and watersheds from gridded land topography are applied to gridded multibeam bathymetry of the mid-California margin. The algorithms are used to automatically map two regional tributary networks of submarine canyons and deepsea channels draining Monterey Bay, the principal conduits of which are Acension and Monterey Canyons. The algorithms reliably map subaqueous drainage areas, but are prone to error in mapping the extent of submarine canyon and channel thalwegs due to operator subjectivity and algorithm limitations. A geomorphic comparison of the Acension and Monterey Canyon networks, with 12 river networks in the continental U.S., illustrates both the potential and weaknesses of using drainage extraction algorithms to analyze sediment pathways in gridded bathymetry.
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