SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Banks;
  • Celtic Sea;
  • ocean waves;
  • sand;
  • seismic stratigraphy;
  • tidal currents

The architecture of a tidal sand bank in the south-eastern Celtic Sea was examined using very high-resolution seismic surveys. The bank comprises four depositional units. The lowest unit 1 is characterized by gently dipping (1–8°) strata that strike parallel to the length of the bank. Unit 1 is erosionally overlain by unit 2, which forms the bulk of the bank. This unit consists of stacked sets of downcurrent-dipping (7–12°) master bedding formed by climbing, sinuous-crested tidal dunes that are up to 20 m high. These deposits are locally incised by an anastomosed channel network (unit 3) that may represent a buried swatchway system. The upper part of the bank comprises wave-related deposits that are mainly preserved on the bank flanks (unit 4). The outer bank surface is erosional. The bank is believed to have formed during the last post-glacial sea-level rise. The facies evolution from unit 1 to unit 3 indicates an upward increase in tidal energy, mainly characterized by the thickening of dune cross-bed sets in unit 2. The majority of bank growth is inferred to have occurred in water depths of the order of 60 m. This evolution was controlled by relative sea-level rise, which is likely to have caused an episode of tidal resonance with associated strong tidal currents that were responsible for the incision of the deep, cross-cutting channels of unit 3. The transition to wave-dominated sedimentation in unit 4 is related to the decay of resonance with continued sea-level rise.