Small mounded contourite drifts associated with deep-water coral banks, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic Ocean
D. Van Rooij, D. Blamart, M. Kozachenko, J.-P. Henriet, 2007. "Small mounded contourite drifts associated with deep-water coral banks, Porcupine Seabight, NE Atlantic Ocean", Economic and Palaeoceanographic Significance of Contourite Deposits, A. R. Viana, M. Rebesco
Download citation file:
Numerous studies on sediment drifts have demonstrated a close interaction between sea-bed morphology, palaeoceanography, sediment supply and climate. Contourites have been reported in areas along continental margins directly influenced by the effect of intensive deep-water currents from the global conveyor belt. In this paper, we report the occurrence of a small-scale confined contourite drift from Porcupine Seabight, SW of Ireland, and its association with a province of coral banks. The Porcupine Basin is a relatively shallow, semi-enclosed basin characterized by the presence of cold-water coral bank provinces. These coral banks are often associated to a strong northward-flowing bottom current, created and steered by a complex interaction of the water mass characteristics, tidal influences and sea-bed morphology. Very high-resolution seismic stratigraphy allowed the identification of a small mounded drift, located between a depression created by (1) an irregular palaeotopography caused by a vigorous Late Pliocene erosion event and (2) a north-south alignment of coral banks. Core MD99-2327, taken on the flank of this drift mound, shows the variability of the bottom currents. Sortable silt data show several periods of bottom-current enhancement, which may be linked with warmer periods and an inferred influx of Mediterranean Outflow Water. The glacial part of the core has been interpreted as a muddy contourite with a high content of ice-rafted debris. The lower part of the core is a deep-water massive contourite sand resembling the present-day sea-floor sediments.