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Morphosedimentary features and recent depositional architectural model of the Cantabrian continental margin

AuthorsErcilla, Gemma ; Casas, David ; Estrada, Ferran ; Vázquez, J. T.; Iglesias, Jorge ; García, Marga ; Gomez-Ballesteros, María; Acosta, Juan; Gallart Muset, Josep
KeywordsCantabrian margin
Morphosedimentary features
Cap Ferret Fan
Depositional architecture
Issue Date10-Jan-2008
CitationMarine Geology 247(1-2): 61-83 (2008)
AbstractMultibeam bathymetry, high (sleeve airguns) and very high resolution (parametric system-TOPAS-) seismic records were used to define the morphosedimentary features and investigate the depositional architecture of the Cantabrian continental margin. The outer shelf (down to 180–245 m water depth) displays an intensively eroded seafloor surface that truncates consolidated ancient folded and fractured deposits. Recent deposits are only locally present as lowstand shelf-margin deposits and a transparent drape with bedforms. The continental slope is affected by sedimentary processes that have combined to create the morphosedimentary features seen today. The upper (down to 2000 m water depth) and lower (down to 3700–4600 m water depth) slopes are mostly subject to different types of slope failures, such as slides, mass-transport deposits (a mix of slumping and mass-flows), and turbidity currents. The upper slope is also subject to the action of bottom currents (the Mediterranean Water — MW) that interact with the Le Danois Bank favouring the reworking of the sediment and the sculpting of a contourite system. The continental rise is a bypass region of debris flows and turbidity currents where a complex channel-lobe transition zone (CLTZ) of the Cap Ferret Fan develops. The recent architecture depositional model is complex and results from the remaining structural template and the great variability of interconnected sedimentary systems and processes. This margin can be considered as starved due to the great sediment evacuation over a relatively steep entire depositional profile. Sediment is eroded mostly from the Cantabrian and also the Pyrenees mountains (source) and transported by small stream/river mountains to the sea. It bypasses the continental shelf and when sediment arrives at the slope it is transported through a major submarine drainage system (large submarine valleys and mass-movement processes) down to the continental rise and adjacent Biscay Abyssal Plain (sink). Factors controlling this architecture are tectonism and sediment source/dispersal, which are closely interrelated, whereas sea-level changes and oceanography have played a minor role (on a long-term scale)
Description22 pages, 11 figures
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2007.08.007
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