Influence of bottom currents on sediment texture and sea-floor morphology in the Argentine Basin

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Ledbetter, M. T., & Klaus, A. (1987). Influence of bottom currents on sediment texture and sea-floor morphology in the Argentine Basin. Geological Society Special Publication, 31, 23-31. doi:10.1144/GSL.SP.1987.031.01.04
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TitleInfluence of bottom currents on sediment texture and sea-floor morphology in the Argentine Basin
AuthorsT. Ledbetter, A. Klaus
AbstractThe relative bottom-current speed below 4000 m in the Argentine Basin was inferred from the regional pattern of mean particle size of the non-biogenic silt fraction of about 300 sea-floor samples. The pattern reveals a strong deep western boundary current (DWBC) entering the Argentine Basin from the Georgia Basin through a gap in the Falkland Fracture Zone. The DWBC turns W and flows as a contour current along the Falkland Escarpment and Argentine continental margin. At the southern end of the Rio Grande Rise, the DWBC is deflected to the E and SE where it flows along the lower flank of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge as a weak basin-wide return flow. Several smaller return-flow gyres in the southern and western basin are delineated in the regional pattern. The DWBC is strongest along the western margin of the Argentine Basin where 3.5 kHz echograms reveal very prolonged echoes with no sub-bottom reflectors. That reflector pattern is indicative of coarse turbidites, some of which have been winnowed to produce coarse-grained lag deposits under the axis of flow. In the interior of the basin, where bottom-current flow is weakest, sediment consists of clay and silt which is deposited in large migrating mud waves with wavelengths of 3-10 km and heights of up to 137 m (average 26 m). The mud waves consist of material swept into the basin by the DWBC and delivered to the basin margin by down-slope processes. Thus material is winnowed by the DWBC and deposited as a fine-grained chaff in abyssal antidunes which migrate to the centre of the basin and form thick drift deposits.
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Date1987
Start page23
End page31
ISSN03058719

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