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Contourite processes associated with the Mediterranean Outflow Water after its exit from the Strait of Gibraltar: Global and conceptual implications

AuthorsHernández-Molina, Francisco J.; Ercilla, Gemma ; García, Marga ; Arnaiz, Alvaro
Issue DateMar-2014
PublisherGeological Society of America
CitationGeology 42(3): 227-230 (2014)
AbstractWe characterize the eastern Gulf of Cadiz, proximal to the Strait of Gibraltar, using a multidisciplinary approach that combines oceanographic, morphosedimentary, and stratigraphic studies. Two terraces (upper and lower) were identifi ed along the middle slope. They are composed of several associated morphologic elements, including two large erosive channels, which allow us to determine a new and more detailed understanding of the Mediterranean Outfl ow Water (MOW) pathway and its deceleration upon exiting the Strait of Gibraltar. There is evidence for along-slope circulation and additional secondary circulation oblique to the main fl ow. The present upper core of the MOW fl ows along the upper terrace and the lower core fl ows along the lower terrace. However, the lower terrace shows larger and better defi ned erosive features on the seafl oor than does the upper terrace; we attribute this to a denser, deeper, and faster MOW circulation that prevailed during past cold climates. Development of the present features started ca. 3.8-3.9 Ma, but the present morphology was not established until the late Pliocene-early Quaternary (3.2 to older than 2.0 Ma), when the MOW was enhanced, coeval with global cooling, a sea-level fall, and an increase in thermohaline circulation. We propose a direct link between the MOW and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and therefore between the MOW and both the Northern Hemisphere and global climate. Our results have enabled a better understanding of a major overfl ow related to an oceanic gateway, and are of broad interest to geologists, climatologists, oceanographers, and petroleum geologists. © 2014 Geological Society of America
DescriptionHernández-Molina, Francisco J. ... et. al.-- 4 pages, 3 figures
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G35083.1
Identifiersdoi: 10.1130/G35083.1
issn: 0091-7613
e-issn: 1943-2682
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