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True volumes of slope failure estimated from a Quaternary mass-transport deposit in the northern South China Sea

Sun, Qiliang, Alves, Tiago ORCID:, Lu, Xiangyang, Chen, Chuanxu and Xie, Xinong 2018. True volumes of slope failure estimated from a Quaternary mass-transport deposit in the northern South China Sea. Geophysical Research Letters 45 (6) , pp. 2642-2651. 10.1002/2017GL076484

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Submarine slope failure can mobilize large amounts of seafloor sediment, as shown in varied offshore locations around the world. Submarine landslide volumes are usually estimated by mapping their tops and bases on seismic data. However, two essential components of the total volume of failed sediments are overlooked in most estimates: a) the volume of sub-seismic turbidites generated during slope failure and b) the volume of shear compaction occurring during the emplacement of failed sediment. In this study, the true volume of a large submarine landslide in the northern South China Sea is estimated using seismic, multibeam bathymetry and ODP/IODP well data. The submarine landslide was evacuated on the continental slope and deposited in an ocean basin connected to the slope through a narrow moat. This particular character of the sea floor provides an opportunity to estimate the amount of strata remobilized by slope instability. The imaged volume of the studied landslide is ~1035±64 km3, ~406±28 km3 on the slope and ~629±36 km3 in the ocean basin. The volume of sub-seismic turbidites is ~86 km3 (median value) and the volume of shear compaction is ~100 km3, which are ~8.6% and ~9.7% of the landslide volume imaged on seismic data, respectively. This study highlights that the original volume of the failed sediments is significantly larger than that estimated using seismic and bathymetric data. Volume loss related to the generation of landslide-related turbidites and shear compaction must be considered when estimating the total volume of failed strata in the submarine realm.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
ISSN: 0094-8276
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 8 March 2018
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 01:28

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