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Latitudinal variations in submarine channel sedimentation patterns; the role of Coriolis forces

R. Cossu, M. G. Wells and J. Peakall
Latitudinal variations in submarine channel sedimentation patterns; the role of Coriolis forces
Journal of the Geological Society of London (February 2015) 172 (2): 161-174

Abstract

Turbidity currents transport clastic sediments from the continental margin to deep ocean basins and along their pathways they erode large submarine channels. The driving mechanisms for submarine channel evolution are highly complex, reflected by recent debates about the formation and global distribution of sinuosity in turbidite channels. We present novel experiments on channelized gravity currents running over an erodible bed, where the magnitude of Coriolis forces is changed to reproduce conditions at low and high latitudes. We find a striking systematic change in deposition and erosion patterns as Coriolis forces become dominant at high latitudes so that erosion and deposition occur only on opposite sides of channels; in contrast, at low latitudes significant inner-bank intra-channel bars form on alternate sides of sinuous channels. Our observations show very good agreement with sedimentation patterns in Coriolis-dominated contourite drift systems and with deposits in modern and ancient turbidity current channels. We hypothesize that Coriolis forces are a key parameter for submarine channel evolution and sedimentary architecture at high latitudes but not at low latitudes; this proposal offers a new approach to interpret deep-sea architectural features at high latitudes.


ISSN: 0016-7649
Coden: JGSLAS
Serial Title: Journal of the Geological Society of London
Serial Volume: 172
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Latitudinal variations in submarine channel sedimentation patterns; the role of Coriolis forces
Affiliation: University of Toronto, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada
Pages: 161-174
Published: 20150206
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of London, London, United Kingdom
References: 86
Accession Number: 2015-026645
Categories: Oceanography
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables
S60°00'00" - S47°00'00", W74°00'00" - W60°00'00"
S56°00'00" - S17°45'00", W76°00'00" - W67°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Leeds, GBR, United Kingdom
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data from The Geological Society, London, London, United Kingdom
Update Code: 201513
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