Twichell David C.

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David C.

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  • Article
    Morphology of late Quaternary submarine landslides along the U.S. Atlantic continental margin
    (Elsevier B.V., 2009-02-21) Twichell, David C. ; Chaytor, Jason D. ; ten Brink, Uri S. ; Buczkowski, Brian
    The nearly complete coverage of the U.S. Atlantic continental slope and rise by multibeam bathymetry and backscatter imagery provides an opportunity to reevaluate the distribution of submarine landslides along the margin and reassess the controls on their formation. Landslides can be divided into two categories based on their source areas: those sourced in submarine canyons and those sourced on the open continental slope and rise. Landslide distribution is in part controlled by the Quaternary history of the margin. They cover 33% of the continental slope and rise of the glacially influenced New England margin, 16% of the sea floor offshore of the fluvially dominated Middle Atlantic margin, and 13% of the sea floor south of Cape Hatteras. The headwall scarps of open-slope sourced landslides occur mostly on the lower slope and upper rise while they occur mostly on the upper slope in the canyon-sourced ones. The deposits from both landslide categories are generally thin (mostly 20–40 m thick) and comprised primarily of Quaternary material, but the volumes of the open-slope sourced landslide deposits can be larger (1–392 km3) than the canyon-sourced ones (1–10 km3). The largest failures are located seaward of shelf-edge deltas along the southern New England margin and near salt domes that breach the sea floor south of Cape Hatteras. The spatial distribution of landslides indicates that earthquakes associated with rebound of the glaciated part of the margin or earthquakes associated with salt domes were probably the primary triggering mechanism although other processes may have pre-conditioned sediments for failure. The largest failures and those that have the potential to generate the largest tsunamis are the open-slope sourced landslides.
  • Article
    Holocene evolution of Apalachicola Bay, Florida
    (Springer, 2009-09-16) Osterman, Lisa E. ; Twichell, David C. ; Poore, Richard Z.
    A program of geophysical mapping and vibracoring was conducted to better understand the geologic evolution of Apalachicola Bay. Analyses of the geophysical data and sediment cores along with age control provided by 34 AMS 14C dates on marine shells and wood reveal the following history. As sea level rose in the early Holocene, fluvial deposits filled the Apalachicola River paleochannel, which extended southward under the central part of the bay and seaward across the continental shelf. Sediments to either side of the paleochannel contain abundant wood fragments, with dates documenting that those areas were forested at 8,000 14C years b.p. As sea level continued to rise, spits formed of headland prodelta deposits. Between ~6,400 and ~2,500 14C years b.p., an Apalachicola prodelta prograded and receded several times across the inner shelf that underlies the western part of the bay. An eastern deltaic lobe was active for a shorter time, between ~5,800 and 5,100 14C years b.p. Estuarine benthic foraminiferal assemblages occurred in the western bay as early as 6,400 14C years b.p., and indicate that there was some physical barrier to open-ocean circulation and shelf species established by that time. It is considered that shoals formed in the region of the present barrier islands as the rising sea flooded an interstream divide. Estuarine conditions were established very early in the post-glacial flooding of the bay.
  • Article
    Geomorphic process fingerprints in submarine canyons
    (Elsevier, 2013-02-07) Brothers, Daniel S. ; ten Brink, Uri S. ; Andrews, Brian D. ; Chaytor, Jason D. ; Twichell, David C.
    Submarine canyons are common features of continental margins worldwide. They are conduits that funnel vast quantities of sediment from the continents to the deep sea. Though it is known that submarine canyons form primarily from erosion induced by submarine sediment flows, we currently lack quantitative, empirically based expressions that describe the morphology of submarine canyon networks. Multibeam bathymetry data along the entire passive US Atlantic margin (USAM) and along the active central California margin near Monterey Bay provide an opportunity to examine the fine-scale morphology of 171 slope-sourced canyons. Log–log regression analyses of canyon thalweg gradient (S) versus up-canyon catchment area (A) are used to examine linkages between morphological domains and the generation and evolution of submarine sediment flows. For example, canyon reaches of the upper continental slope are characterized by steep, linear and/or convex longitudinal profiles, whereas reaches farther down canyon have distinctly concave longitudinal profiles. The transition between these geomorphic domains is inferred to represent the downslope transformation of debris flows into erosive, canyon-flushing turbidity flows. Over geologic timescales this process appears to leave behind a predictable geomorphic fingerprint that is dependent on the catchment area of the canyon head. Catchment area, in turn, may be a proxy for the volume of sediment released during geomorphically significant failures along the upper continental slope. Focused studies of slope-sourced submarine canyons may provide new insights into the relationships between fine-scale canyon morphology and down-canyon changes in sediment flow dynamics.
  • Article
    Geologic framework of the 2005 Keathley Canyon gas hydrate research well, northern Gulf of Mexico
    (Elsevier B.V., 2008-05-10) Hutchinson, Deborah R. ; Hart, Patrick E. ; Collett, Timothy S. ; Edwards, K. M. ; Twichell, David C. ; Snyder, Fred
    The Keathley Canyon sites drilled in 2005 by the Chevron Joint Industry Project are located along the southeastern edge of an intraslope minibasin (Casey basin) in the northern Gulf of Mexico at 1335 m water depth. Around the drill sites, a grid of 2D high-resolution multichannel seismic data designed to image depths down to at least 1000 m sub-bottom reveals 7 unconformities and disconformities that, with the seafloor, bound 7 identifiable seismic stratigraphic units. A major disconformity in the middle of the units stands out for its angular baselapping geometry. From these data, three episodes of sedimentary deposition and deformation are inferred. The oldest episode consists of fine-grained muds deposited during a period of relative stability in the basin (units e, f, and g). Both the BSR and inferred gas hydrate occur within these older units. The gas hydrate occurs in near-vertical fractures. A second episode (units c and d) involved large vertical displacements associated with infilling and ponding of sediment. This second interval corresponds to deposition of intercalated fine and coarse-grained material that was recovered in the drill hole that penetrated the thin edges of the regionally much thicker units. The final episode of deposition (units a and b) occurred during more subdued vertical motions. Hemipelagic drape (unit a) characterizes the modern seafloor. The present-day Casey basin is mostly filled. Its sill is part of a subsiding graben structure that is only 10–20 m shallower than the deepest point in the basin, indicating that gravity-driven transport would mostly bypass the basin. Contemporary faulting along the basin margins has selectively reactivated an older group of faults. The intercalated sand and mud deposits of units c and d are tentatively correlated with Late Pleistocene deposition derived from the western shelf-edge delta/depocenter of the Mississippi River, which was probably most active from 320 ka to 70 ka [Winker, C.D., Booth, J., 2000. Sedimentary dynamics of the salt-dominated continental slope, Gulf of Mexico: integration of observations from the seafloor, near-surface, and deep subsurface. In: Proceedings of the GCSSEPM Foundation 20th Annual Research Conference, Deep-water Reservoirs of the World, pp. 1059–1086]. The presence of sand within the gas hydrate stability zone (in units c and d) is not sufficient to concentrate gas hydrate even though dispersed gas hydrate occurs deeper in the fractured mud/clay-rich sections of units e and f.
  • Article
    Geologic controls on the recent evolution of oyster reefs in Apalachicola Bay and St. George Sound, Florida
    (Elsevier B.V., 2010-05-10) Twichell, David C. ; Edmiston, L. ; Andrews, Brian D. ; Stevenson, W. ; Donoghue, J. ; Poore, R. ; Osterman, Lisa E.
    Apalachicola Bay and St. George Sound contain the largest oyster fishery in Florida, and the growth and distribution of the numerous oyster reefs here are the combined product of modern estuarine conditions in the bay and its late Holocene evolution. Sidescan-sonar imagery, bathymetry, high-resolution seismic profiles, and sediment cores show that oyster beds occupy the crests of a series of shoals that range from 1 to 7 km in length, trend roughly north-south perpendicular to the long axes of the bay and sound, and are asymmetrical with steeper sides facing to the west. Surface sediment samples show that the oyster beds consist of shelly sand, while much of the remainder of the bay floor is covered by mud delivered by the Apalachicola River. The present oyster reefs rest on sandy delta systems that advanced southward across the region between 6400 and 4400 yr BP when sea level was 4–6 m lower than present. Oysters started to colonize the region around 5100 yr BP and became extensive by 1200 and 2400 yr BP. Since 1200 yr BP, their aerial extent has decreased due to burial of the edges of the reefs by the prodelta mud that continues to be supplied by the Apalachicola River. Oyster reefs that are still active are narrower than the original beds, have grown vertically, and become asymmetrical in cross-section. Their internal bedding indicates they have migrated westward, suggesting a net westerly transport of sediment in the bay.
  • Article
    Partitioning of sediment on the shelf offshore of the Columbia River littoral cell
    (Elsevier B.V., 2010-02-11) Twichell, David C. ; Cross, VeeAnn A. ; Peterson, Curt D.
    Sediment derived from the Columbia River has been deposited on the continental shelf, along the barriers and beaches, and in the bays of the Oregon and Washington coast during the Holocene. The barrier and beach deposits of this 150-km section of coast comprise approximately 6 km3 of these Holocene sediments (Peterson et al., 2010-this issue) while the fluvial and bay deposits comprise about 104 km3 (Baker et al., 2010-this issue), and the shelf deposit is approximately 79 km3. Seismic-reflection, sidescan sonar, and surface sediment data show that the shelf deposit is not uniform in distribution or composition. The shelf deposit is 15–50 m thick off the beaches of the southern part of the study area but is less than 3 m thick, and, in places, absent from the inner shelf in the northern third of the study area. Surface sediment texture of the shelf deposit varies as well. Pleistocene-age gravel covers parts of the inner shelf in the northern third of the area. To the south, the surface of the Holocene shelf deposit is composed of fine sand near shore that grades offshore to dominantly very fine sand in 25–30 m water depth and muddy sand on the middle and outer shelf (> 50 m depth). Although a huge volume of sediment covers the shelf, its uneven distribution indicates that in places only small amounts are available as a potential offshore source to the adjacent beaches, and in other places the finer-grained nature of the shelf deposit indicates that significant winnowing of fine sediment would be necessary to make it compositionally equivalent to sediment on adjacent beaches.