Two main sub-bottom dataset sources were used in this study: (i) BGS-NERC geophysical data, collected on various cruises between 1969 and 2007 by the BGS UK Continental Shelf Mapping Programme, and (ii) NERC cruise JC123 data. BGS-NERC data included more than 100 single-channel, analog acoustic (seismic) geophysical lines from the Minch and continental shelf around NW Scotland (fig. S1). The entire dataset has now been digitized, and screen-resolution imagery of the original paper records is available via a web portal ( The best information regarding marine geological sediment character and thickness was gained from higher-frequency (1 to 5 KHz) acoustic sub-bottom profiles taken with boomer and pinger systems, although much use was made of lower-frequency (100 to 1000 Hz) sparker profiles, especially in the North Minch and on the mid-to-outer shelf where the Pleistocene sediment sequence is considerably thicker (>50 m). Interpreted linework was exported into ArcGIS for assimilation with other geological and bathymetric data.

NERC cruise JC123 aboard the RRS James Cook in 2015 collected high-resolution acoustic sub-bottom data using a Kongsberg SBP120 sub-bottom profiler (fig. S1). The system has a sweep frequency of 2.5 to 6.5 KHz and a ping interval of 500 ms. Data were continuously logged in seg and raw form and visualized on a digital echogram. Differential GPS (Appanix POS-MV) was used as the primary positioning and motion sensor, while Seapath200 was used as the secondary system. Data were imported into Kingdom Suite software for processing and visualization. Interpreted linework was exported into ArcGIS for assimilation with other geological and bathymetric data.

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