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Abstract

A sediment drift complex, resulting from the activity of the northward flowing Levantine Intermediate Water, occurs in intermediate water depth (300–600 m) on the eastern flank of the Corsica Basin. Because of the effect of topographic constriction, bottom currents are here accelerated, reaching velocities that are sufficient to erode, transport and redistribute fine-grained sediment. The sediment drift complex shows a variety of depositional and erosional features that appear very similar to oceanic examples. The development of such features appears to be mainly controlled by an interaction between the bottom current regime and slope topography. Seismic geometries and core data show that such features have grown since middle Pliocene time under a long-term stable bottom-current regime. Short-term variability of current efficiency, a concept including the combined effects of current speed, sediment availability and local topography, as a result of climate and sea-level changes, is recorded by the cyclical superposition of small-scale depositional units.

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