Geomorphology and shallow structure of a segment of the Atlantic Patagonian margin
Atlantis Group 1
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KeywordSediment drifts; Submarine canyons; Falkland/Malvinas Current; Pockmarks; Mud diapirs; Deep-water corals
We study an area little known of the Atlantic Patagonian margin from 44˚30’S to 47˚40’S and from 59˚W to nearly 61˚W. The multi-beam bathymetry coupled with high resolution seismic reflection profiles, have provided details on the morphology and shallow acoustic structure on this area. The main morphological characteristics of the seafloor features on the shelf and middle slope are described. The Atlantic Patagonian continental shelf north of 45˚40’S is located at a depth of 170-200 m depths, south of this latitude the shelf edge is at 128 to 200 m. The shelf surface is marred by circular depression and ridges oriented oblique to the shelf edge. The upper slope and upper middle slope are plowing by icebergs from Antarctica in Pleistocene and local reefs of cold-water coral further enhance the topography of the area. In the middle slope there are two terraces, the 20 to 60 km wide Nágera and the 15 to 60 km wide Perito Moreno terraces, showing moats, hollows, pot holes, sediment drifts and sediment waves. The terraces may have been formed in Late Miocene whereas the other forms are of Pleistocene age. Other features are a sediment swell south of 47˚S and seven submarine canyons on the middle slope. These incipient canyons have been developed in the middle slope by retrogressive erosion, some terminating on the upper middle slope, and others on the upper slope and the canyon 6 breaching the shelf edge. Individual seafloor features existing on the Atlantic Patagonian Margin have been classified into two main groups according to their origin: along and across-slope processes. These primary agents were supplemented by endogenic processes such as expulsion of gas/water, diapirism of high-pressure mud and folding/faulting. The results suggest that today down-slope processes on the slope are practically non-existent and that the morphology of the upper and middle slope is slowly being remoulded by along-slope bottom currents.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Earth-Science Reviews 121 (2013): 73-95, doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.03.002.