Survival of a submarine canyon during long-term outbuilding of a continental margin
Net-depositional submarine canyons are common in continental slope strata, but how they survive and prograde on constructional margins is poorly understood. In this study we present field evidence for the coevolution of a submarine canyon and the adjacent continental slope. Using a three-dimensional seismic data cube that images the Ebro margin (northwest Mediterranean), we identify a preserved canyon on a middle Pleistocene paleosurface and relate it directly to its expression on the present-day seafloor. A subparallel stacking pattern of seismic reflectors, similar to that seen between prograding clinoforms in intercanyon areas, is observed between the modern and paleocanyon thalwegs. The concavity of the modern long profile differs from the convex-concave long profile on the middle Pleistocene surface, suggesting a long-term change in canyon sedimentation. We interpret this change as a shift to a canyon dominated by turbidity currents from one strongly influenced by the pattern of sedimentation that built the open-slope canyon interfluves. We find support for our interpretation in previous studies of the Ebro margin. © 2012 Geological Society of America.
Amblas, D; Gerber, TP; De Mol, B; Urgeles, R; Garcia-Castellanos, D; Canals, M; Pratson, LF; Robb, N; Canning, J
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