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Sediment accumulation rates and turbidite frequency in the eastern Algerian margin. An attempt to examine the triggering mechanisms

Abstract : From the analysis of seven new sediment piston-cores sampled in 2005 (MARADJA-2 French-Algerian cruise), this study aims to identify for the first time possible late Pleistocene to recent sedimentary instabilities controlled by seismicity off or close to the eastern coast of Algeria. The detailed lithologic study allows us to identify the frequency of the gravity events (turbidites, debrites) and to discuss their geographical sources and triggering mechanisms. Based on a chronostratigraphy of 24 14C AMS datings, sediment accumulation rates in zones extending off Bejaia and Annaba and, in particular, semi-quantitative analysis of the microfossils and lithogenic tracers of the origin of gravity flows was discussed. Two sediment cores, here considered as reference cores, enabled the estimation of palaeoenvironmental parameters that controlled sedimentation: (1) in the prodelta of Soummam Oued, after 2215 cal yr BP, floods were less frequent and sediment accumulation rates decreased because of a drier climate; (2) in the middle slope to the NE of Annaba, a location shielded from gravity flows, an increased sedimentation rate coincided with the passage of warmer waters leading to maxima of carbonate biogenic fluxes (particularly pteropods). Off Bejaia, two deep sediment cores show a spectacular increase in sediment accumulation rate between 2200 and 1000 cal yr BP while turbidites become more frequent. According to the eustatic and climatic stability of this interval, an episode of strong slope instability of the slope is suggested. Both sediment cores on the slope of Annaba indicate an increase in gravity flows during the same last thousand years, which is tentatively related to a regional increase of seismicity during this interval. This spatial distribution of gravity events is clearly different to that of the western margin where the sedimentation is less perturbed.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 4:30:33 PM
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Pierre Giresse, Maria-Angela Bassetti, Henri Pauc, Virginie Gaullier, Jacques Déverchère, et al.. Sediment accumulation rates and turbidite frequency in the eastern Algerian margin. An attempt to examine the triggering mechanisms. Sedimentary Geology, Elsevier, 2013, 294, pp.266-281. ⟨10.1016/j.sedgeo.2013.06.005⟩. ⟨insu-00846189⟩

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