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A multi-disciplinary investigation of the AFEN Slide: the relationship between contourites and submarine landslides

A multi-disciplinary investigation of the AFEN Slide: the relationship between contourites and submarine landslides
A multi-disciplinary investigation of the AFEN Slide: the relationship between contourites and submarine landslides
Contourite drifts are sediment deposits formed by ocean bottom currents on continental slopes worldwide. Although it has become increasingly apparent that contourites are often prone to slope failure, the physical controls on slope instability remain unclear. This study presents high-resolution sedimentological, geochemical and geotechnical analyses of sediments to better understand the physical controls on slope failure that occurred within a sheeted contourite drift within the Faroe–Shetland Channel. We aim to identify and characterize the failure plane of the late Quaternary landslide (the AFEN Slide), and explain its location within the sheeted drift stratigraphy. The analyses reveal abrupt lithological contrasts characterized by distinct changes in physical, geochemical and geotechnical properties. Our findings indicate that the AFEN Slide likely initiated along a distinct lithological interface, between overlying sandy contouritic sediments and softer underlying mud-rich sediments. These lithological contrasts are interpreted to relate to climatically controlled variations in sediment input and bottom current intensity. Similar lithological contrasts are likely to be common within contourite drifts at many other oceanic gateways worldwide; hence our findings are likely to apply more widely. As we demonstrate here, recognition of such contrasts requires multi-disciplinary data over the depth range of stratigraphy that is potentially prone to slope failure.
SUBMARINE LANDSLIDES, CONTOURITES, GEOTECHNICAL PROPERTIES, SEDIMENTOLOGY, multi disciplinary
0305-8719
Gatter, Ricarda
4201e8b4-1f11-41fd-94e8-60a9ea72890a
Clare, Michael Andrew
b26da858-9c08-4784-aaa9-7092efcd94bd
Hunt, James Edward
2e95b3c8-734f-4ade-8010-8ed32fe4fe5e
Watts, Millie
74f8c79a-1eee-4337-ae9e-a2681933ecbe
Madhusudhan, BN
e139e3d3-2992-4579-b3f0-4eec3ddae98c
Talling, Peter
1cbac5ec-a9f8-4868-94fe-6203f30b47cf
Huhn, Katrin
56f42eb4-fe61-4660-8553-6a632b029284
Gatter, Ricarda
4201e8b4-1f11-41fd-94e8-60a9ea72890a
Clare, Michael Andrew
b26da858-9c08-4784-aaa9-7092efcd94bd
Hunt, James Edward
2e95b3c8-734f-4ade-8010-8ed32fe4fe5e
Watts, Millie
74f8c79a-1eee-4337-ae9e-a2681933ecbe
Madhusudhan, BN
e139e3d3-2992-4579-b3f0-4eec3ddae98c
Talling, Peter
1cbac5ec-a9f8-4868-94fe-6203f30b47cf
Huhn, Katrin
56f42eb4-fe61-4660-8553-6a632b029284

Gatter, Ricarda, Clare, Michael Andrew, Hunt, James Edward, Watts, Millie, Madhusudhan, BN, Talling, Peter and Huhn, Katrin (2020) A multi-disciplinary investigation of the AFEN Slide: the relationship between contourites and submarine landslides. Geological Society London Special Publications, SP500, [SP500-2019-184]. (doi:10.1144/SP500-2019-184).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Contourite drifts are sediment deposits formed by ocean bottom currents on continental slopes worldwide. Although it has become increasingly apparent that contourites are often prone to slope failure, the physical controls on slope instability remain unclear. This study presents high-resolution sedimentological, geochemical and geotechnical analyses of sediments to better understand the physical controls on slope failure that occurred within a sheeted contourite drift within the Faroe–Shetland Channel. We aim to identify and characterize the failure plane of the late Quaternary landslide (the AFEN Slide), and explain its location within the sheeted drift stratigraphy. The analyses reveal abrupt lithological contrasts characterized by distinct changes in physical, geochemical and geotechnical properties. Our findings indicate that the AFEN Slide likely initiated along a distinct lithological interface, between overlying sandy contouritic sediments and softer underlying mud-rich sediments. These lithological contrasts are interpreted to relate to climatically controlled variations in sediment input and bottom current intensity. Similar lithological contrasts are likely to be common within contourite drifts at many other oceanic gateways worldwide; hence our findings are likely to apply more widely. As we demonstrate here, recognition of such contrasts requires multi-disciplinary data over the depth range of stratigraphy that is potentially prone to slope failure.

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SP500-2019-184_AFEN_paper - Version of Record
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e-pub ahead of print date: 28 April 2020
Keywords: SUBMARINE LANDSLIDES, CONTOURITES, GEOTECHNICAL PROPERTIES, SEDIMENTOLOGY, multi disciplinary

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 441273
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/441273
ISSN: 0305-8719
PURE UUID: 8430dead-df11-4170-9f6b-24e9066829ca
ORCID for BN Madhusudhan: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2570-5934

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Date deposited: 08 Jun 2020 16:31
Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 01:42

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Contributors

Author: Ricarda Gatter
Author: Michael Andrew Clare
Author: James Edward Hunt
Author: Millie Watts
Author: BN Madhusudhan ORCID iD
Author: Peter Talling
Author: Katrin Huhn

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