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Deposition processes from echo-character mapping along the western Algerian margin (Oran–Tenes), Western Mediterranean

Abstract : The westernmost Algerian margin (south Algero-Provençal basin) depicts a few offshore active faults, moderate to rare seismicity, and generally very steep slopes (>16°). We classified and mapped 12 echo types according to their sub-bottom acoustic facies observed on this margin on 2–5.2 kHz Chirp echo-sounder data (MARADJA 2003 cruise). The echo-character maps are interpreted in terms of sedimentary processes: the B1 echo type (parallel to subparallel high- to low-amplitude sub-bottom reflections), mainly in the deep basin, corresponds to hemipelagic sedimentation; R1 (prolonged single echo with no sub-bottoms) and R2 (small irregular overlapping hyperbolae) echo types, generally near or in canyon systems, are associated with turbidity currents or more rarely to contour currents or mass-transport deposits such as slumps, slides and debris flows; the transparent echo types (T1–T5) and R3 (chaotic lens of low-amplitude reflections on top of higher amplitude), often located at the foot of the slope or canyons walls, typically indicate mass-transport deposits (like slides) or turbidites. Large zones that display a large variety of echo types are evidenced in the study area and are generally associated with turbidity currents, but could also be associated with bottom currents. It appears that active tectonics plays a significant role in this part of the margin which presents a few active faults offshore but also a strong and relatively frequent seismicity onland. The general pattern of the distribution of mass-transport deposits is particular – i.e. many but small slides all along the margin – and suggests a probable triggering by recurrent earthquake shakings. However, active tectonics is not the only factor influencing the deposition pattern, as some zones seem characterized by predominant strong turbidity currents transporting sediments far away from the foot of the margin, whereas others depict retrogressive erosion features on the slope, i.e. small slides scarps in gullies rather than transport by turbidity currents. In particular, the rivers sediment discharge fluxes and the geomorphologic characteristics of the margin seem to be very important factors too.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - 3:33:27 PM
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A. Domzig, V. Gaullier, P Giresse, H. Pauc, Jacques Déverchère, et al.. Deposition processes from echo-character mapping along the western Algerian margin (Oran–Tenes), Western Mediterranean. Marine and Petroleum Geology, Elsevier, 2009, 26 (5), pp.673-694. ⟨10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2008.05.006⟩. ⟨insu-00385562⟩



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