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Abstract

On the basis of 2D multichannel and very-high-resolution seismic data and swath bathymetry, we report a sequence of giant mass-transport deposits (MTDs) in the Scan Basin (southern Scotia Sea, Antarctica). MTDs with a maximum thickness of c. 300 m extend up to 50 km from the Discovery and Bruce banks towards the Scan Basin. The headwall area consists of multiple U-shaped scars intercalated between volcanic edifices, up to 250 m high and 7 km wide, extending c. 14 km downslope from 1750 to 2900 m water depth. Seismic sections show that these giant MTDs are triggered by the intersection between diagenetic fronts related to silica transformation and vertical fluid-flow pipes linked to magmatic sills emplaced within the sedimentary sequence of the Scan Basin. This work supports that the diagenetic alteration of siliceous sediments is a possible cause of slope instability along world continental margins where bottom-simulating reflectors related to silica diagenesis are present at a regional scale.

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