Abstract

The epicenter area of the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake on the continental slope south of Newfoundland has been investigated using Sea MARC I, a deeply towed, midrange sidescan sonar with a 4.5-kHz subbottom profiler. Shallow slides pass downslope into debris flows on the muddy continental slope east of the epicenter. At the head of the Eastern Valley of the Laurentian Fan, west of the epicenter, arcuate slide scars cut undisturbed upper-slope sediment and lead downslope to a lineated erosional seabed. At a water depth of about 1600 m, this erosional seabed passes into extensive fields of 100-m-wavelength gravel waves situated on the broad, irregular valley floor. The gravel waves become better developed downslope and extend at least to water depths of 3000 m. All these morphological features appear fresh on the sidescan sonograms, suggesting that they date from the 1929 earthquake event, and the distribution of slides corresponds to the area of instantaneous cable breaks in 1929. The upper limit of erosion on valley walls suggests that the 1929 turbidity current was less than 300 m thick. Timing of cable breaks downfan suggests that flow velocities were sufficient to rework gravel deposits into large bedforms during waning flow stages over elevated areas of the valley floor. Similar cross-bedded coarse sands and gravels are common in ancient channel deposits.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.