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Abstract

The present study provides an overview of recent sedimentation patterns on the central Algerian continental margin. Recent sedimentation patterns were assessed from morphological analysis, which is based on swath bathymetry and echo-facies mapping. It appears that sedimentation along the Algerian margin is controlled by two processes: (1) gravity-induced processes, including both mass-transport deposits and turbidity currents, and (2) hemipelagic sedimentation. Mass-transport deposits occur on the Algerian margin at the canyon heads and flanks, in the interfluve areas between canyons, along the seafloor escarpments, and on the flanks of salt diapirs. Mass-transport deposits (MTDs) sampled by coring consist of a variety of soft and hard mud-clast conglomerate and turbidite deposits. MTDs are mostly localized at the toes of steep slopes, where thrust faults were previously identified and mapped. Analysis of the spatial distribution of MTDs and their recurrence in time help reconstruct the main predisposing factors and triggering mechanisms, and evaluate their impact on evolution of the Algerian margin.

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