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Contourite depositional systems along the Mozambique channel: The interplay between bottom currents and sedimentary processes

Abstract : We present a combined study of the geomorphology, sedimentology, and physical oceanography of the Mozambique Channel to evaluate the role of bottom currents in shaping the Mozambican continental margin and adjacent Durban basin. Analysis of 2D multichannel seismic reflection profiles and bathymetric features revealed major contourite deposits with erosive (abraded surfaces, contourite channels, moats, furrows and scours), depositional (plastered and elongated-mounded drifts, sedimentary waves), and mixed (terraces) features, which were then used to construct a morpho-sedimentary map of the study area. Hydrographic data and hydrodynamic modelling provide new insights into the distribution of water masses, bottom current circulation and associated processes (e.g., eddies, internal waves, etc.) occurring along the Mozambican slope, base-of-slope and basin floor. Results from this work represent a novel deep-sea sedimentation model for the Mozambican continental margin and adjacent Durban basin. This model shows 1) how bottom circulation of water masses and associated sedimentary processes shape the continental margin, 2) how interface positions of water-masses with contrasting densities (i.e., internal waves) sculpt terraces along the slope at a regional scale, and 3) how morphologic obstacles (seamounts, Mozambique Ridge, etc.) play an essential role in local water mass behaviours and dynamics. Further analysis of similar areas can expand understanding of the global role of bottom currents in deep-sea sedimentation.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 3:04:06 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 3:39:37 AM

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Antoine Thiéblemont, F. Javier Hernández-Molina, Elda Miramontes, François Raisson, Pierrick Penven. Contourite depositional systems along the Mozambique channel: The interplay between bottom currents and sedimentary processes. Deep-sea research. Part A, Oceanographic research papers, Elsevier, 2019, 147, pp.79-99. ⟨10.1016/j.dsr.2019.03.012⟩. ⟨insu-03683195⟩

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