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Suspended sediment fluxes and transport processes in the Gulf of Lions submarine canyons. The role of storms and dense water cascading

AutorPalanques, Albert ; Durrieu de Madron, Xavier; Puig, Pere ; Fabrés, Joan; Guillén, Jorge ; Calafat, Antoni; Canals, Miquel; Heussner, Serge; Bonnin, Jerôme
Palabras claveSuspended sediment transport
Submarine canyons
Gulf of Lions
Storm events
Fecha de publicacióndic-2006
CitaciónMarine Biology 234(1-4): 43-61 (2006)
ResumenContemporary suspended sediment transport was studied in seven submarine canyons of the Gulf of Lions (GoL). Current meters equipped with turbidity sensors were moored 4 m above bottom at 300 m depth in the canyon axis from November 2003 to May 2004. Sediment transport events were monitored and studied in relation to forcing conditions. There was a large flood in early December, during which discharges from all of the coastal rivers increased by more than one order of magnitude. A smaller flood of the Rhone River occurred later in mid-January followed by a persistent high river discharge that lasted until mid-February. There were also several E-SE storm events during the measurement period, two of them causing large swell, one in early December (max Hs: 8.4 m), coinciding with the major river flood, and one in late February (max Hs: 7 m) during a period of lower river discharge. Most of the variability in down-canyon current speeds was linked to strong downwelling induced by E-SE storms and to cascading of dense shelf water induced by N and NW winds. The intensity and timing of these processes strongly varied spatially. Eastern storms generated higher waves and induced stronger downwelling in the western than in the eastern sector of the GoL. Shelf dense water cascading events were enhanced during eastern storms and they were also more intense in the western sector of the GoL. These events occurred frequently from January to May along the western canyons and from February to April along the eastern canyons. From February to April they occurred simultaneously in all the canyons. Sediment transport was mainly down-canyon and mostly concentrated during storm-induced downwelling and dense water cascading events. During the high river discharge season most of the newly-supplied and resuspended sediment remained stored on the shelf. However, during the late February storm and cascading event, the stored sediment was quickly resuspended and transported, mainly through the westernmost submarine canyon (Cap de Creus), following a flushing pattern. Later, although minor storms and shelf dense water cascading hardly increased suspended sediment concentrations within the canyons, they induced strong near-bottom cunrent velocities, increasing down-canyon sediment fluxes and generating small but significant sediment transport events. Most of the shelf-canyon transfer took place during the late February storm and cascading event through the Cap de Creus canyon where the net suspended sediment flux was between one and two orders of magnitude higher than in the other canyons
DescripciónSpecial issue EUROSTRATAFORM VOL. 1: Source to Sink Sedimentation on the European Margin.-- 20 pages, 14 figures.-- Erratum to “Suspended sediment fluxes and transport processes in the Gulf of Lions submarine canyons. The role of storms and dense water cascading” [Marine Geology 234/1–4 (2006) 43–61] http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2007.01.007
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2006.09.002
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