Large-scale current-induced erosion and deposition in the path of the 1929 Grand Banks turbidity current

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ABSTRACT

New observations concerning the degree of current-induced erosion and deposition in the path of the 1929 Grand Banks turbidity current are presented. Most of the observations are available from Eastern Valley, Laurentian Fan. Seabeam and SeaMARC I data reveal widespread current erosion along the valley over a distance of 200 km from the shelfbreak. Erosional valley-floor channels are preferentially developed adjacent to the valley margins and the flanks of intravalley highs. Asymmetric transverse bedforms (herein termed gravel waves) are moulded in a deflationary pebble and cobble lag that overlies the eroded valley floor. In contrast, at the distal limit of Eastern Valley, thick deposits of massive granule gravel indicate deposition beneath a decelerating turbidity current. Symmetrical transverse bedforms (herein termed macrodunes) are developed within these granule gravel sediments.

The spatial distribution of both bedforms and the areas of erosive excavation suggest that the turbidity current in 1929 was accelerating over the first 100 km from the shelfbreak and was eroding and entraining sediment from the valley floor over a distance of at least 200 km. With the loss of lateral constraint at the distal limit of Eastern Valley the turbidity current spread laterally and started depositing sediment as it decelerated. Current-induced erosion of the valley floor represented a potential source of between 50 and 100 km3 of sediment for incorporation into the resulting turbidite.

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