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Tae Chang, Hun Ha and Seung Chun (2015)

Factors controlling mud accumulation in the Heuksan mud belt off southwestern Korea

Geo-Marine Letters, 35(6):461–473.

The Heuksan mud belt (hereafter HMB) is 20 similar to 50 km wide, similar to 200 km long, and similar to 50 m thick, having accumulated in the course of the Holocene transgression on the tide-dominated epicontinental shelf southwest of Korea. The internal architecture of the HMB is characterized by offshore prograding clinoforms. Of particular interest are the depositional processes responsible for this anomalously thick mud accumulation within a relatively short period of time. Tidal currents are important in the dispersal of mud in the HMB, although these alone cannot explain such an enormous mud deposit. In order to understand the formative processes of the HMB, a detailed sedimentary facies analysis, including high-resolution grain-size measurements, has been conducted on more than 30 short cores and three long drill cores recovered from the mud belt. Five major mud facies were identified. Of these, mud sequences showing a thickening-thinning trend of alternating silt and clay laminae suggestive of a tidal origin occur dominantly at inner to mid shelf locations. By contrast, internally structureless muds with sharp bases and no bioturbation, which are interpreted of representing fluid-mud deposits, are widespread at mid to outer shelf locations. Wave-generated mud ripples and storm beds on the inner shelf suggest that storm waves in winter resuspend previously deposited mud to form near-bed fluid-mud suspensions with resulting gravity-driven mud transport across the low-gradient outer shelf. This previously not recognized process is probably a major factor controlling depositional processes on the giant mud belt, enabling rapid accumulation and offshore progradation even during transgression, i.e., at times of sea-level rise.

Oceanography, Geosciences, Sedimentology, Geology
fluid-mud, fine-sediment, depositional processes, driven sediment transport, new-guinea, amazon continental-shelf, late quaternary, gravity flows, southeastern yellow-sea, south-america


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