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Origin of step-like and lobate seafloor features along the continental shelf off Rio de Janeiro State, Santos basin-Brazil

Abstract : A combined analysis of seismic and morphological features identified in a set of high-resolution seismic reflection and bathymetric data, shows a systematic relationship between major modern seafloor morphological traces and the basinward migration of Late Pleistocene coastlines along the continental shelf of the Santos basin (Rio de Janeiro State, SE Brazil). Observed fairly continuous and sinuous mid-outer shelf escarpments are related to the sea-level variations and shelf exposure during the Last Glacial cycle. A bathymetric step at - 110 m is an erosional remnant of offlapping detached forced-regressive wedges that spread over 50 km in the shelf-dip direction, probably developed during periods of falling sea level between MIS 3 and 2. A second major escarpment at - 130 m was interpreted as the shoreline during the LGM, at the time of most extensive subaerial exposure of the continental shelf. However, a distal escarpment at - 150 m is expressed as a straight contour feature along the two main shelf-edge embayments that characterize the shelf break. This escarpment is coupled with a basal seaward-inclined and highly eroded ramp, and was interpreted as the erosional action of bottom currents during the last transgression due to the displacement of the southward flowing Brazil Current towards the present-day outer shelf. Previously published articles have regarded the morphological features observed on the modern shelf as indicators of stillstands during the post-LGM transgression. We conclude that, on the contrary, most of these features are actually from earlier parts of the Late Pleistocene and were formed in a regressive scenario under oscillating and relative slow sea-level fall.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 3:31:55 PM
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A.T. Reis, R.M.C. Maia, C.G. Silva, Marina Rabineau, J.V. Guerra, et al.. Origin of step-like and lobate seafloor features along the continental shelf off Rio de Janeiro State, Santos basin-Brazil. Geomorphology, Elsevier, 2013, 203, pp.25-45. ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.04.037⟩. ⟨insu-00833815⟩



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