Hill Jenna C.

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Jenna C.

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  • Preprint
    Geologic controls on submarine slope failure along the central U.S. Atlantic margin : insights from the Currituck Slide Complex
    ( 2016-10) Hill, Jenna C. ; Brothers, Daniel S. ; Craig, Bradley K. ; ten Brink, Uri S. ; Chaytor, Jason D. ; Flores, Claudia H.
    Multiple styles of failure, ranging from densely spaced, mass transport driven canyons to the large, slab-type slope failure of the Currituck Slide, characterize adjacent sections of the central U.S. Atlantic margin that appear to be defined by variations in geologic framework. Here we use regionally extensive, deep penetration multichannel seismic (MCS) profiles to reconstruct the influence of the antecedent margin physiography on sediment accumulation along the central U.S. Atlantic continental shelf-edge, slope, and uppermost rise from the Miocene to Present. These data are combined with highresolution sparker MCS reflection profiles and multibeam bathymetry data across the Currituck Slide complex. Pre-Neogene allostratigraphic horizons beneath the slope are generally characterized by low gradients and convex downslope profiles. This is followed by the development of thick, prograded deltaic clinoforms during the middle Miocene. Along-strike variations in morphology of a regional unconformity at the top of this middle Miocene unit appear to have set the stage for differing styles of mass transport along the margin. Areas north and south of the Currituck Slide are characterized by oblique margin morphology, defined by an angular shelf-edge and a relatively steep (>8°), concave slope profile. Upper slope sediment bypass, closely spaced submarine canyons, and small, localized landslides confined to canyon heads and sidewalls characterize these sectors of the margin. In contrast, the Currituck region is defined by a sigmoidal geometry, with a rounded shelf-edge rollover and gentler slope gradient (<6°). Thick (>800 m), regionally continuous stratified slope deposits suggest the low gradient Currituck region was a primary depocenter for fluvial inputs during multiple sea level lowstands. These results imply that the rounded, gentle slope physiography developed during the middle Miocene allowed for a relatively high rate of subsequent sediment accumulation, thus providing a mechanism for compaction–induced overpressure that preconditioned the Currituck region for failure. Detailed examination of the regional geological framework illustrates the importance of both sediment supply and antecedent slope physiography in the development of large, potentially unstable depocenters along passive margins.
  • Article
    Timing of iceberg scours and massive ice-rafting events in the subtropical North Atlantic
    (Nature Research, 2021-06-16) Condron, Alan ; Hill, Jenna C.
    High resolution seafloor mapping shows extraordinary evidence that massive (>300 m thick) icebergs once drifted >5,000 km south along the eastern United States, with >700 iceberg scours now identified south of Cape Hatteras. Here we report on sediment cores collected from several buried scours that show multiple plow marks align with Heinrich Event 3 (H3), ~31,000 years ago. Numerical glacial iceberg simulations indicate that the transport of icebergs to these sites occurs during massive, but short-lived, periods of elevated meltwater discharge. Transport of icebergs to the subtropics, away from deep water formation sites, may explain why H3 was associated with only a modest increase in ice-rafting across the subpolar North Atlantic, and implies a complex relationship between freshwater forcing and climate change. Stratigraphy from subbottom data across the scour marks shows there are additional features that are both older and younger, and may align with other periods of elevated meltwater discharge.
  • Preprint
    Active methane venting observed at giant pockmarks along the U.S. mid-Atlantic shelf break
    ( 2007-11) Newman, Kori R. ; Cormier, Marie-Helene ; Weissel, Jeffrey K. ; Driscoll, Neal W. ; Kastner, Miriam ; Solomon, Evan A. ; Robertson, Gretchen ; Hill, Jenna C. ; Singh, Hanumant ; Camilli, Richard ; Eustice, Ryan M.
    Detailed near-bottom investigation of a series of giant, kilometer scale, elongate pockmarks along the edge of the mid-Atlantic continental shelf confirms that methane is actively venting at the site. Dissolved methane concentrations, which were measured with a commercially available methane sensor (METS) designed by Franatech GmbH mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), are as high as 100 nM. These values are well above expected background levels (1-4 nM) for the open ocean. Sediment pore water geochemistry gives further evidence of methane advection through the seafloor. Isotopically light carbon in the dissolved methane samples indicates a primarily biogenic source. The spatial distribution of the near-bottom methane anomalies (concentrations above open ocean background), combined with water column salinity and temperature vertical profiles, indicate that methane-rich water is not present across the entire width of the pockmarks, but is laterally restricted to their edges. We suggest that venting is primarily along the top of the pockmark walls with some advection and dispersion due to local currents. The highest methane concentrations observed with the METS sensor occur at a small, circular pockmark at the southern end of the study area. This observation is compatible with a scenario where the larger, elongate pockmarks evolve through coalescing smaller pockmarks.
  • Article
    Seabed fluid expulsion along the upper slope and outer shelf of the U.S. Atlantic continental margin
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-01-08) Brothers, Daniel S. ; Ruppel, Carolyn D. ; Kluesner, Jared W. ; ten Brink, Uri S. ; Chaytor, Jason D. ; Hill, Jenna C. ; Andrews, Brian D. ; Flores, Claudia H.
    Identifying the spatial distribution of seabed fluid expulsion features is crucial for understanding the substrate plumbing system of any continental margin. A 1100 km stretch of the U.S. Atlantic margin contains more than 5000 pockmarks at water depths of 120 m (shelf edge) to 700 m (upper slope), mostly updip of the contemporary gas hydrate stability zone (GHSZ). Advanced attribute analyses of high-resolution multichannel seismic reflection data reveal gas-charged sediment and probable fluid chimneys beneath pockmark fields. A series of enhanced reflectors, inferred to represent hydrate-bearing sediments, occur within the GHSZ. Differential sediment loading at the shelf edge and warming-induced gas hydrate dissociation along the upper slope are the proposed mechanisms that led to transient changes in substrate pore fluid overpressure, vertical fluid/gas migration, and pockmark formation.