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Depositional characteristics and spatial distribution of deep-water sedimentary systems on the northwestern middle-lower slope of the Northwest Sub-Basin, South China Sea
Chen, H.; Xie, X.N.; Van Rooij, D.; Vandorpe, T.; Huang, L.; Guo, L.Y.; Su, M. (2013). Depositional characteristics and spatial distribution of deep-water sedimentary systems on the northwestern middle-lower slope of the Northwest Sub-Basin, South China Sea. Mar. Geophys. Res. 34(3-4): 239-257. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11001-013-9191-7
In: Marine Geophysical Researches. Reidel: Dordrecht. ISSN 0025-3235, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Deep-water sedimentation; Bottom current; Contourite; Mass-wastingdeposits; South China Sea

Authors  Top 
  • Chen, H., more
  • Xie, X.N.
  • Van Rooij, D., more
  • Vandorpe, T., more
  • Huang, L.
  • Guo, L.Y.
  • Su, M.

Abstract
    Based upon 2D seismic data, this study confirms the presence of a complex deep-water sedimentary system within the Pliocene-Quaternary strata on the northwestern lower slope of the Northwest Sub-Basin, South China Sea. It consists of submarine canyons, mass-wasting deposits, contourite channels and sheeted drifts. Alongslope aligned erosive features are observed on the eastern upper gentle slopes (< 1.2A degrees above 1,500 m), where a V-shaped downslope canyon presents an apparent ENE migration, indicating a related bottom current within the eastward South China Sea Intermediate Water Circulation. Contourite sheeted drifts are also generated on the eastern gentle slopes (similar to 1.5A degrees in average), below 2,100 m water depth though, referring to a wide unfocused bottom current, which might be related to the South China Sea Deep Water Circulation. Mass wasting deposits (predominantly slides and slumps) and submarine canyons developed on steeper slopes (> 2A degrees), where weaker alongslope currents are probably dominated by downslope depositional processes on these unstable slopes. The NNW-SSE oriented slope morphology changes from a three-stepped terraced outline (I-II-III) east of the investigated area, into a two-stepped terraced (I-II) outline in the middle, and into a unitary steep slope (II) in the west, which is consistent with the slope steepening towards the west. Such morphological changes may have possibly led to a westward simplification of composite deep-water sedimentary systems, from a depositional complex of contourite depositional systems, mass-wasting deposits and canyons, on the one hand, to only sliding and canyon deposits on the other hand.

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