Impact of open sea deep convection on sediment remobilization in the western Mediterranean

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Abstract

[1] The northwestern Mediterranean is known to be a privileged area of deep water formation via dense shelf water cascading and offshore convection. The impact of the former in the sedimentary dynamics of the deep basin has been highlighted in recent years, while open sea convection has been solely studied from a hydrological perspective. Particle fluxes and hydrodynamics were monitored at the DYFAMED site (Ligurian Sea, western Mediterranean) at 200, 1000 m and near the seafloor (2350 m depth) during winter 2005–2006. From February to April 2006, and in coincidence with an unusual episode of deep water formation, a notable intensification of currents was observed in the entire water column and near-bottom particle flux increased up to two orders of magnitude. These observations suggest that offshore convection must be taken into account together with cascading as a major driving force for sedimentary dynamics in the deep western Mediterranean.

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