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We discuss recent attempts to investigate some features of mass-transport deposits (MTDs) from a dynamic and numerical modeling viewpoint. We selected some study examples, such as the problem of the large mobility of submarine mass wasting, emplacement of erratic blocks, and possible change of rheologic properties during flow. Some lubrication mechanisms are needed to explain mobility of submarine slides, and in this respect we discuss hydroplaning and shear wetting models. We show that hydroplaning could explain several features of small, cohesive debris flows such as the Finneidfjord landslide in Norway, and emplacement of outrunner blocks in the Nigerian basin or the Faeroe Islands. However, larger submarine slides usually scour the sea bottom and need a much higher velocity to hydroplane. For this reason, additional mechanisms must be invoked to explain dynamics of the largest submarine slides. In relation to the giant Storegga slide off Norway, we discuss possible effect of the high shear rates due to friction with ambient water on the surface of a submarine slide. This may result in strength loss of sediments and remolding, with consequent increase in mobility. At times, a mobile debris flow may raft huge blocks along its path, providing a further clue as to velocity, impact forces, and block resistance. In this respect, we discuss a couple of examples from the Arctic Sea and the Balearic Basin. We argue that a better understanding of geometry and sedimentologic characteristics of MTDs will require more dedicated studies on submarine slide dynamics in the subaqueous environment. In turn, this should be achieved with an integrated approach between field data, experimental activity, and numerical simulations.

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