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The sea-floor morphology of a Mediterranean shelf fed by small rivers, northern Alboran Sea margin

AuthorsLobo, F. J. ; Fernández-Salas, L. M.; Moreno, I.; Sanz, J. L.; Maldonado, Andrés
KeywordsAlboran Sea
Continental shelf
Submarine geomorphology
Prodeltaic wedges
Sediment transfer
Issue Date9-Oct-2006
CitationContinental Shelf Research 26: 2607-2628 (2006)
AbstractDepositional geometries and distribution patterns of shelf sediment wedges mainly derived from small rivers located in the northern margin of the Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean Basin, are reported in this study, in order to understand: (1) their generation under particular physiographic and climatic conditions of river basins; (2) the interaction of shallow-water wedges with submarine valleys. A high amount of data has been used in this study, including river discharge and wave climate data, multibeam bathymetry, high-resolution seismic profiles and surficial sediment samples. The eastern shelf of the study area comprises the prodeltaic wedge off the Guadalfeo River and its eastward continuation, interrupted by the deeply indented Carchuna Canyon head. In contrast, the western shelf receives the contributions of a smaller river, the Verde River, whose associated prodeltaic wedge is limited to the inner shelf. Morphological features of both prodeltas are similar and differ from other Mediterranean prodeltaic bodies, resembling fan deltas. Those similarities include very steep foresets and bottomsets, very shallow and close to the coast offlap break. coarse sediment composition, lobate shape and common occurrence of crenulated sea floor. All these features point out to an origin linked to the activity of high-density sediment flows, rapid sedimentation and limited lateral redistribution. Those processes are favoured by the existence of an abrupt onshore physiography, a regional climate with a marked seasonality that conditioned torrential fluvial regimes and high availability of loose sand and gravel. Shelf sediment by-pass is a likely process during the Holocene in the eastern shelf, as suggested by the identification of two types of submarine valleys: (1) numerous gullies occur from the distal toe of the Guadalfeo River prodelta to the slope; (2) submarine canyon heads affect to the Holocene sedimentary wedge in the eastern sector of the study area. In the western shelf, however, the influence of shelf sedimentation processes on deeper domains is minimal, due to shelf widening, prevalence of relict features and absence of submarine valleys.
Description22 pages, 13 figures, 2 tables.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2006.08.2006
Appears in Collections:(IACT) Artículos
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