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Storm-induced sediment gravity flows at the head of the Eel submarine canyon, northern California margin

AutorPuig, Pere ; Ogston, Andrea S.; Mullenbach, B.L.; Nittrouer, C.A.; Parsons, J.D.; Sternberg, R.W.
Fecha de publicaciónmar-2004
EditorAmerican Geophysical Union
CitaciónJournal of Geophysical Research 109(C3): C03019 (2004)
ResumenAs part of the STRATAFORM program, a bottom-boundary layer (BBL) tripod was deployed at 120 m depth in the northern thalweg of the Eel Canyon during winter 2000. Increases of the near-bottom suspended-sediment concentrations (SSC) recorded at the canyon head were not directly related to the Eel River discharge, but were clearly linked to the occurrence of storms. BBL measurements revealed that during intensifications of the wave orbital velocity, sediment transport at the head of the canyon occurred as sediment gravity flows directed down-canyon. Observational evidence for near-bed sediment gravity-flow transport included an increase toward the bed of the down-canyon component of wave-averaged velocity and high estimated SSC. At higher sampling frequencies (1 Hz), the current components during these events fluctuated at the same periodicity as the pressure, reflecting a clear influence of the surface-wave activity on the generation and maintenance of the sediment gravity flows. The origin of such flows is not related to the formation of fluid muds on the shelf or to intense wave-current sediment resuspension around the canyon head region. Rather, liquefaction of sediment deposited at the head of the canyon (induced by wave-load excess pore water pressures during storms) combined with elevated slopes around the canyon head appear to be the mechanisms initiating sediment transport. The resulting fluidized-sediment layer can easily be eroded, entrained into the water column, and transported down-canyon as a sediment gravity flow. Results from this study reveal that storm-induced sediment gravity flows occur periodically in the Eel Canyon head, and suggest that this kind of sediment transport process can occur in other submarine canyons more frequently than previously expected. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union
Descripción10 pages, 5 figures
Versión del editorhttps://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2003JC001918
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1029/2003JC001918
issn: 0148-0227
e-issn: 2156-2202
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