Abstract

A geological and geophysical survey in 1968 has shown that the Bengal Deep-Sea Fan is almost 3000 km long, and 1000 km wide. We estimate that it may exceed 12 km in thickness. The sediments of the fan have been transported by turbidity currents from the Ganges-Brahmaputra River delta, through the “Swatch of No Ground” submarine canyon and into an extensive, complex, meandering, and braided net of fan valleys. Present rate of sediment influx suggests a regional rate of denudation in the Himalayan source area of over 70 cm/103 years. The sediment section in reflection profiles of the fan has been subdivided into three units separated by prominent unconformities. Volumes of the upper two units compared with the sediment influx rate extrapolated into the past suggest that the unconformities may be late Miocene and earliest Pleistocene. These times correspond to periods of orogeny in the Himalayas and suggest contemporaneity between plate-edge orogeny and mid-plate tectonic activity.

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