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Large-scale sedimentation on the glacier-influenced polar North Atlantic Margins: Long-range side-scan sonar evidence

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Abstract

Long-range side-scan sonar (GLORIA) imagery of over 600,000 km² of the Polar North Atlantic provides a large-scale view of sedimentation patterns on this glacier-influenced continental margin. High-latitude margins are influenced strongly by glacial history and ice dynamics and, linked to this, the rate of sediment supply. Extensive glacial fans (up to 350,000 km³) were built up from stacked series of large debris flows transferring sediment down the continental slope. The fans were linked with high debris inputs from Quaternary glaciers at the mouths of cross-shelf troughs and deep fjords. Where ice was slower-moving, but still extended to the shelf break, large-scale slide deposits are observed. Where ice failed to cross the continental shelf during full glacials, the continental slope was sediment starved and submarine channels and smaller slides developed. A simple model for large-scale sedimentation on the glaciated continental margins of the Polar North Atlantic is presented.

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