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Morphological features and associated bottom-current dynamics in the Le Danois Bank region (southern Bay of Biscay, NE Atlantic): A model in a topographically constrained small basin
Liu, S.; Van Rooij, D.; Vandorpe, T.; González-Pola, C.; Ercilla, G.; Hernández-Molina, F.J. (2019). Morphological features and associated bottom-current dynamics in the Le Danois Bank region (southern Bay of Biscay, NE Atlantic): A model in a topographically constrained small basin. Deep-Sea Res., Part 1, Oceanogr. Res. Pap. 149: 103054. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2019.05.014
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part I. Oceanographic Research Papers. Elsevier: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0637; e-ISSN 1879-0119, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Motion > Water motion > Water currents > Bottom currents
    Sediments > Clastics > Contourites
    ANE, Biscay Bay [Marine Regions]
Author keywords
    Southern Bay of Biscay; Small basin

Authors  Top 
  • González-Pola, C.
  • Ercilla, G.
  • Hernández-Molina, F.J.

Abstract
    The present-day morphology of the Le Danois Bank region has been investigated based on bathymetric and high to ultra-high resolution seismic reflection data. The involved bottom-current processes are associated with the Eastern North Atlantic Central Water, the Atlantic Mediterranean Water and the Labrador Sea Water. Sediments originating from various canyon systems along the Cantabrian Margin and the Asturias continental shelf are transported by downslope and alongslope processes towards the Le Danois intraslope basin. The background flow velocities of bottom currents are all below the threshold (8–10 cm/s) of generating plastered and mounded geometries of contourite drifts. However, bottom currents are locally accelerated (up to 25 cm/s) due to the presence of the Le Danois Bank and the Vizco High, creating a furrow and three moats and generating six plastered drifts, three elongated mounded and separated drifts at different depth intervals. The extension and distribution of the drifts are controlled by slope morphology and/or bottom current velocities. Unlike contourite drifts along other continental slopes, a single contourite drift (the Gijón Drift) with a lateral variation in drift geometry and internal structure indicates the interaction of bottom currents with different flow dynamics. Additionally, scouring of active bottom currents and rapid sedimentation rate of contourite drifts may be at the origin of slope instability events. Besides contourite drifts, internal waves may have induced the formation of sediment waves. In the Le Danois intraslope basin, multiple sedimentary processes work together and shape the present-day seafloor. Bottom currents are focused due to deflection on complex topographical obstacles within a relatively small basin setting, and create a wide variety of sedimentary features, including contourite drifts. The resulting sedimentary features thus have more frequent lateral variations, a feature typical for topographically constrained small basins.

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