Analysis of a closely spaced grid of multifold seismic data across the upper Pliocene-Pleistocene Mississippi fan in the deep Gulf of Mexico allows for the first time a detailed description of a large part of the fan. Mapping of the 17 channel-levee systems shows considerable variability in parameters such as size, location, geometry, lateral migration, aggradation, sinuosity, and downfan bifurcation, which suggests that multiple factors control channel evolution. The youngest channel, cored during Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 96, reflects only style in channel evolution. Such complexity in large, mud-dominated, submarine fan systems must be considered in evaluating fan models and interpreting ancient fan systems.

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