Writing a Rosetta Stone: Insights into Continental-Margin Sedimentary Processes and Strata

  1. Charles A. Nittrouer,
  2. James A. Austin,
  3. Michael E. Field,
  4. Joseph H. Kravitz,
  5. James P. M. Syvitski and
  6. Patricia L. Wiberg
  1. Charles A. Nittrouer1,
  2. James A. Austin JR2,
  3. Michael E. Field3,
  4. Joseph H. Kravitz4,
  5. James P. M. Syvitski5 and
  6. Patricia L. Wiberg6

Published Online: 25 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304398.ch1

Continental Margin Sedimentation: From Sediment Transport to Sequence Stratigraphy

Continental Margin Sedimentation: From Sediment Transport to Sequence Stratigraphy

How to Cite

Nittrouer, C. A., Austin, J. A., Field, M. E., Kravitz, J. H., Syvitski, J. P. M. and Wiberg, P. L. (2007) Writing a Rosetta Stone: Insights into Continental-Margin Sedimentary Processes and Strata, in Continental Margin Sedimentation: From Sediment Transport to Sequence Stratigraphy (eds C. A. Nittrouer, J. A. Austin, M. E. Field, J. H. Kravitz, J. P. M. Syvitski and P. L. Wiberg), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304398.ch1

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Oceanography and Department of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

  2. 2

    Institute for Geophysics, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78759, USA

  3. 3

    Pacific Science Centre, US Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

  4. 4

    Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA

  5. 5

    Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

  6. 6

    Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 17 JUL 2007

Book Series:

  1. Special Publication Number 37 of the International Association of Sedimentologists

Book Series Editors:

  1. Ian Jarvis

Series Editor Information

  1. School of Earth Sciences & Geography, Centre for Earth & Environmental Science Research, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405169349

Online ISBN: 9781444304398

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Keywords:

  • continental margin sedimentation - writing a Rosetta stone and insights into sedimentary processes and strata;
  • Eel River (California) continental margin;
  • sediment alteration;
  • Eel margin sediment dispersal system;
  • seabed failure;
  • gravity flows;
  • margin stratigraphy;
  • margin morphology;
  • New Jersey margin stratigraphy

Summary

Continental margins are valuable for many reasons, including the rich record of Earth history that they contain. A comprehensive understanding about the fate of fluvial sediment requires knowledge that transcends time-scales ranging from particle transport to deep burial. Insights are presented for margins in general, with a focus on a tectonically active margin (northern California) and a passive margin (New Jersey). Formation of continental-margin strata begins with sediment delivery to the seabed. Physical and biological reworking alters this sediment before it is preserved by burial, and has an impact upon its dispersal to more distal locations. The seabed develops strength as it consolidates, but failure can occur and lead to sediment redistribution through high-concentration gravity flows. Processes ranging from sediment delivery to gravity flows create morphological features that give shape to continental-margin surfaces. With burial, these surfaces may become seismic reflectors, which are observed in the subsurface as stratigraphy and are used to interpret the history of formative processes. Observations document sedimentary processes and strata on a particular margin, but numerical models and laboratory experimentation are necessary to provide a quantitative basis for extrapolation of these processes and strata in time and space.