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Factors for pre-conditioning and post-failure behaviour of submarine landslides in the margins of Ulleung Basin, East Sea (Japan Sea)

Horozal, Senay, Bahk, Jang-Jun, Cukur, Deniz, Urgeles, Roger, Buchs, David M. ORCID:, Lee, Sang Hoon, Um, In-Kwon and Kim, Seong-Pil 2023. Factors for pre-conditioning and post-failure behaviour of submarine landslides in the margins of Ulleung Basin, East Sea (Japan Sea). Marine Geology 455 , 106956. 10.1016/j.margeo.2022.106956

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Glide planes, the basal surface or failure surface upon which submarine landslides initiate, commonly develop along weak, distinctive stratigraphic horizons but their lithological/mechanical characteristics and genetic mechanisms remain largely unknown. We use 2-D multi-channel seismic reflection data, integrated with multibeam bathymetry and deep drilling data from the Ulleung Basin margins, East (Japan) Sea, to: (1) identify and characterize the nature of glide planes associated with submarine landslides; (2) understand the influence of climate-modulated factors in preconditioning slope failures; and (3) document the post-failure evolution of the landslides. 24 glide planes were identified among 38 submarine slides (SL1 – SL38), which correspond to regionally continuous, positive-polarity high-amplitude seismic reflections. Well-seismic integration support ca. 340 ka – 1,200 ka ages of formation of the major glide planes in the southwestern and western margins of the basin. These glide planes developed at the interface between clay-rich sediment deposited during glacial periods and biogenic diatom-rich sediments deposited during interglacial periods. Physical, mineralogical and geochemical properties determined by density, porosity, gamma-ray, shear strength, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray fluorescence data reveal significant lithological and mechanical changes at the interface between these two lithologies. We therefore infer that these interfaces dictate the position of failure surfaces, with the diatom-rich layers acting as a weak layer. Excess pore pressure in these layers is likely due to initial high-water contents (up to 75%) and high compressibility; this is considered an important pre-condition for failure. In contrast, the glide planes along the northwestern margin of the Ulleung Basin (SL34 – 37) are older (ca. 1,200 ka – 2,140 ka). Seismic data further reveal three distinct contrasting styles of landslide post-failure behavior throughout the margins: (1) evacuated slide scars with areas of smooth seafloor; (2) slide scars with residual debris consisting of blocky sediments; and (3) slide scars with buried intact sediment blocks in front of the headwalls. Lateral variability of fluid flow, sediment composition, and mechanical properties of basal ‘weak’ layer(s), or the magnitude of earthquakes may have contributed to forming different types of mass-transport deposits (MTDs). Overall, these results show that landslide formation in the East (Japan) Sea result from a complex climatic, volcanic and tectonic interplay that controlled the formation of weak layers. Some of these layers extend regionally and can be identified and mapped by remote geophysical methods and targeted drilling.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0025-3227
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 24 November 2022
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 17:44

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