Brian E. Tucholke, 2002. "The Greater Antilles Outer Ridge: development of a distal sedimentary drift by deposition of fine-grained contourites", Deep-Water Contourite Systems: Modern Drifts and Ancient Series, Seismic and Sedimentary Characteristics, D. A. V. Stow, C. J. Pudsey, J. A. Howe, J.-C. Faugères, A. R. Viana
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The Greater Antilles Outer Ridge, located north and northwest of the Puerto Rico Trench, is a deep (>5100 m), distal sediment drift more than 900 km long and up to 1 km thick. It has been isolated from sources of downslope sedimentation throughout its history and is formed of clay- to fine silt-size terrigenous sediments that have been deposited from suspended load carried in the Western Boundary Undercurrent, together with 0-30% pelagic foraminiferal carbonate. Because of the fine, relatively uniform grain size of the sediments, the outer ridge consists of sediments that are seismically transparent in low-frequency reflection profiles. Sediment tracers (chlorite in sediments and suspended particulate matter, reddish clays in cores) indicate that at least a portion of the ridge sediments has been transported more than 2000 km from the eastern margin of North America north of 40°N. The outer ridge began to develop as early as the beginning of Oligocene time when strong, deep thermohaline circulation developed in the North Atlantic and the trough initiating the present Puerto Rico Trench had cut off downslope sedimentation from the Greater Antilles. The fastest growth of the outer ridge probably occurred beginning in the early Miocene, about the same time that large drifts such as the Blake Outer Ridge were initiated along the North American margin. Since that time, the most rapid sedimentation has been along the crest of the northwestern outer ridge where suspended load is deposited in a shear zone between opposing currents on the two ridge flanks
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Deep-Water Contourite Systems: Modern Drifts and Ancient Series, Seismic and Sedimentary Characteristics
Countourites are a widespread but poorly known group of sediments linked to the action of powerful bottom currents in deep water. Although we know they are especially common along continental margins and through oceanic gateways, they have been surrounded by contoversy since they were first recognized in the early 1960s. Where correctly recognized and decoded they can provide one of the keys to our better understanding of bottom water circulation and of the ocean–climate link. They are part of the spectrum of deposits that confronts the oil industry as exploration moves into progressively greater water depths.
This memoir is an important outcome of the International Geological Correlation Project 432 on Bottom Currents, Contourites and Palaeocirculation. It includes 30 papers involving over 75 key scientists from around the world. Following an introductory state–of–the–art paper by the editors, there are 25 separate case studies on modern drifts and four on ancient contourite series. Each contribution highlights the specific geological and oceanographic setting, bathymetry, physiographic and stratigraphic context, seismic attributes and sedimentary characteristics of that drift. Case studies range from some of the well-documented North Atlantic drifts to those much less known from the Mediterrenean, from important syntheses of the Gulf of Cadiz and Vema Channel Gateway, to completely new data on South Atlantic, Pacific and Antartic margin systems. The four papers on ancient series from Japan, China and Cyprus serve to emphasise the complex nature and subtle characteristics of contourites, which make their identification a scientific challenge.
This volume is dedicated to the memory of Charlie Hollister (1936–1999), one of the founding fathers and pioneers of countourite research.