Downslope Sediment Transport Processes and Sediment Distributions at the East Breaks, Northwest Gulf of Mexico
James N. Piper, E. William Behrens, 2013. "Downslope Sediment Transport Processes and Sediment Distributions at the East Breaks, Northwest Gulf of Mexico", Shelf Margin Deltas and Linked Down Slope Petroleum Systems–Global Significance and Future Exploration Potential, Harry H. Roberts, Norman C. Rosen, Richard H. Fillon, John B. Anderson
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Previous investigations of the East Breaks slide interpreted this site as having been formed by a single mass-wasting event at the terminus of a late Wisconsinan shelf-edge delta. According to these interpretations, after initiation, this slide/slump propagated downslope and divided into two major lobes as it encountered a bathymetric high formed by a salt diapir. This study used a large, new data base of high-frequency 3.5-kHz acoustic reflection profiles and piston cores that shows that the two lobes were genetically separate. Their formation involved the two major types of downslope sediment transport mechanisms that dominate continental slopes: gravity-driven slide/slump/debris flows and turbidity currents. As previously recognized, slumps and debris flows formed the western lobe, but the eastern lobe was formed by channelized turbidity currents. A locus of salt tectonism might have been involved in creating the turbidity current system in the eastern lobe. This large deposit may provide a useful model for subsurface exploration in a portion of the deep water frontier which is less dominated by salt tectonics than much of the central Gulf Coast offshore slope.