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Interaction between seabed morphology and water masses around the seamounts on the Motril Marginal Plateau (Alboran Sea, Western Mediterranean)

AuthorsPalomino, Desirée; Vázquez, J. T.; Ercilla, Gemma ; Alonso, Belén ; López-González, Nieves; Díaz del Río, Víctor
KeywordsAlboran seamounts
Mediterranean waters
Issue DateDec-2011
CitationGeo Marine Letters 31(5-6): 465-479 (2011)
AbstractThe seabed morphology in the vicinity of the seamounts on the Motril Marginal Plateau (northern Alboran Sea) was investigated using high-resolution (sparker) and very high-resolution (TOPAS) seismic reflection profiles and multibeam bathymetry. The aim of the study was to determine the recent geological processes, and in particular those that control the contourite depositional system associated with the intermediate and deep Mediterranean water masses. Six groups of morphological features were identified: structural features (seamount tops, tectonic depressions), fluid escape-related features (pockmarks), mass-movement features (gullies, slides), bottom-current features (moats, scour marks, terraces, elongated and separated drifts, plastered drifts, confined drifts, sheeted drifts), mixed features (ridges) and biogenic features (including evidence of (dead) cold water corals such as Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata). The main processes controlling the formation of these features are recent tectonic activity and the interaction of Mediterranean water masses with the seafloor topography. Seamounts act as topographic barriers that affect the pathway and velocity of the deep Mediterranean water masses, which are divided into strands that interact with the surrounding seafloor. The influence of the intermediate Mediterranean water mass, by contrast, is restricted mainly to the tops of the seamounts. Sediment instability and fluid-escape processes play a minor role, their occurrence being probably related to seismicity
Description17 pages, 11 figures, 1 table -- The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00367-011-0246-y
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