Abstract

About 1000 km of single-channel seismic-reflection profiles from a 50 km × 100 km area on the upper Laurentian Fan shows no evidence of the large slumps interpreted by previous workers in this area. Our detailed profile grid indicates that slump-like masses are commonly in depositional continuity with definite autochthonous sediments, and surfaces previously interpreted as slide planes are either facies changes or the result of valley-wall erosion. Only a few small slump blocks of relatively consolidated sediment are found on the uppermost fan. Acoustic-facies distribution shows a single Early (?) Pleistocene fan valley crossing the northeast part of the survey area with thick overbank sediments to the southwest. In the middle (?) Pleistocene this valley became incised. Its upper reaches then ceased to receive sediment, and a new valley was cut extending southward from the upper slope and intercepting the lower reaches of the old fan valley. This channel diversion was probably related either to the glacial excavation of the Laurentian Channel or to a major slump scar that formed east of the survey area. Most of the old abandoned channel was plugged by overbank deposits from the new master channel. Two other valleys farther west also developed at this time or somewhat earlier. In Late Pleistocene time, all three valleys were incised and more than 1 km of sedimentary material was stripped from much of the uppermost part of the fan, probably as a result of headward erosion of submarine canyons and general thalweg lowering.

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