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Sea-level-induced seismicity and submarine landslide occurrence

Daniel S. Brothers, Karen M. Luttrell and Jason D. Chaytor
Sea-level-induced seismicity and submarine landslide occurrence
Geology (Boulder) (September 2013) 41 (9): 979-982

Abstract

The temporal coincidence between rapid late Pleistocene sea-level rise and large-scale slope failures is widely documented. Nevertheless, the physical mechanisms that link these phenomena are poorly understood, particularly along nonglaciated margins. Here we investigate the causal relationships between rapid sea-level rise, flexural stress loading, and increased seismicity rates along passive margins. We find that Coulomb failure stress across fault systems of passive continental margins may have increased more than 1 MPa during rapid late Pleistocene-early Holocene sea-level rise, an amount sufficient to trigger fault reactivation and rupture. These results suggest that sea-level-modulated seismicity may have contributed to a number of poorly understood but widely observed phenomena, including (1) increased frequency of large-scale submarine landslides during rapid, late Pleistocene sea-level rise; (2) emplacement of coarse-grained mass transport deposits on deep-sea fans during the early stages of marine transgression; and (3) the unroofing and release of methane gas sequestered in continental slope sediments.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 41
Serial Issue: 9
Title: Sea-level-induced seismicity and submarine landslide occurrence
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Science Center, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Pages: 979-982
Published: 201309
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 34
Accession Number: 2014-003616
Categories: OceanographySeismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2013274
Illustration Description: illus.
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201404
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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