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The Tuaheni Landslide Complex (TLC) is characterized by areas of compression upslope and extension downslope. It has been thought to consist of a stack of two genetically linked landslide units identified from seismic data. We used 3D seismic reflection, bathymetry data and International Ocean Discovery Program Core U1517C (Expedition 372) to understand the internal structures, deformation mechanisms and depositional processes of the TLC deposits. Units II and III of U1517C correspond to the two chaotic units in 3D seismic data. In the core, Unit II shows deformation, whereas Unit III appears more like an in situ sequence. Variance attribute analysis showed that Unit II is split into lobes around a coherent stratified central ridge and is bounded by scarps. By contrast, we found that Unit III is continuous beneath the central ridge and has an upslope geometry, which we interpreted as a channel–levee system. Both units show evidence of lateral spreading due to the presence of the Tuaheni Canyon removing support from the toe. Our results suggest that Units II and III are not genetically linked, are separated substantially in time and had different emplacement mechanisms, but they fail under similar circumstances.

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