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Till Hanebuth, Hendrik Lantzsch and Jean Nizou (2015)

Mud depocenters on continental shelves-appearance, initiation times, and growth dynamics

Geo-Marine Letters, 35(6):487-503.

Mud accumulates on continental shelves under a variety of environmental conditions and results in a diverse formation of mud depocenters (MDCs). Their three-dimensional architectures have been in the focus of several recent studies. Due to some terminological confusion concerning MDCs, the present study sets out to define eight individual MDC types in terms of surface sediment distribution and internal geometry. Under conditions of substantial sediment supply, prodeltas (distal zones off river deltas; triangular sheets), subaqueous deltas (disconnected from deltas by strong normal-to-shore currents; wedge-like clinoforms), and mud patches (scattered distribution) and mud blankets (widespread covers) are formed. Forced by hydrodynamic conditions, mud belts in the strict sense (detached from source; elongated bodies), and shallow-water contourite drifts (detached from source; growing normal to prevailing current direction; triangular clinoforms) develop. Controlled by local morphology, mud entrapments (in depressions, behind morphological steps) and mud wedges (triangular clinoforms growing in flow direction) are deposited. Shelf mud deposition took place (1) during early outer-shelf drowning (similar to 14 ka), (2) after inner-shelf inundation to maximum flooding (9.5-6.5 ka), and (3) in sub-recent times ( 2 ka). Subsequent expansion may be (1) concentric, in cases where the depocenter formed near the fluvial source, (2) uni-directional, extending along advective current transport paths, and (3) progradational, forming clinoforms that grow either parallel or normal to the bottom current direction. Classical mud belts may be initiated around defined nuclei, the remote sites of which are determined by seafloor morphology rather than the location of the source. From a stratigraphic perspective, mud depocenters coincide with sea-level highstand-related, shelf-wide condensed sections. They often show a conformable succession from transgressive to highstand systems tract stages.

Shell, Oceanography, Geology, Sedimentology, Geosciences
driven sediment transport, yellow sea, east china sea, national-marine-sanctuary, northern portuguese shelf, late quaternary, holocene subaqueous clinoform, california shelf, low-accumulation shelf, late pleistocene

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