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PreprintGeomorphology and shallow structure of a segment of the Atlantic Patagonian margin( 2013-03) Munoz, Araceli ; Acosta, Juan ; Cristobo, J. ; Druet, M. ; Uchupi, Elazar ; Atlantis Group 1We 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.
PreprintGeomorphology and Neogene tectonic evolution of the Palomares continental margin (Western Mediterranean)( 2016-03) Gomez de la Peña, Laura ; Gracia, Eulalia ; Munoz, Araceli ; Acosta, Juan ; Gomez-Ballesteros, María ; Ranero, Cesar R. ; Uchupi, ElazarThe Palomares continental margin is located in the southeastern part of Spain. The margin main structure was formed during Miocene times, and it is currently part of the wide deformation zone characterizing the region between the Iberian and African plates, where no well-defined plate boundary occurs. The convergence between these two plates is here accommodated by several structures, including the left lateral strike-slip Palomares Fault. The region is characterized by sparse, low to moderate magnitude (Mw < 5.2) shallow instrumental earthquakes, although large historical events have also occurred. To understand the recent tectonic history of the margin we analyze new high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data and re-processed three multichannel seismic reflection profiles crossing the main structures. The analysis of seafloor morphology and associated subsurface structure provides new insights of the active tectonic features of the area. In contrast to other segments of the southeastern Iberian margin, the Palomares margin contains numerous large and comparatively closely spaced canyons with heads that reach near the coast. The margin relief is also characterized by the presence of three prominent igneous submarine ridges that include the Aguilas, Abubacer and Maimonides highs. Erosive processes evidenced by a number of scars, slope failures, gullies and canyon incisions shape the present-day relief of the Palomares margin. Seismic images reveal the deep structure distinguishing between Miocene structures related to the formation of the margin and currently active features, some of which may reactivate inherited structures. The structure of the margin started with an extensional phase accompanied by volcanic accretion during the Serravallian, followed by a compressional pulse that started during the Latemost Tortonian. Nowadays, tectonic activity offshore is subdued and limited to few, minor faults, in comparison with the activity recorded onshore. The deep Algero-Balearic Basin is affected by surficial processes, associated to halokinesis of Messinian evaporites.
PreprintThe morpho-tectonic setting of the Southeast margin of Iberia and the adjacent oceanic Algero-Balearic Basin( 2013-04) Acosta, Juan ; Fontan, A. ; Munoz, Araceli ; Munoz-Martin, A. ; Rivera, J. ; Uchupi, ElazarMulti-beam bathymetry and high-resolution low-penetration seismic reflection profiles of the offshore extensions of the Bétic Internal Zone off Sierra de Cartagena-La Unión margin along its south side and the Mar Menor margin along its east side, the Mazarrón Escarpment forming its southern boundary and the adjacent oceanic Algero-Balearic basin have provided images of the neo-tectonic structures of the region equal to those provided by subaerial photography. For the first time we mapped with unprecedented detail the Mazarrón Escarpment and the Southeast margin of Iberia. The first-order structures of the region are due to the consequence of the collision of the African and Eurasian plates during the Alpine orogeny in late Oligocene-Middle Miocene, the westward migration of the Alborán plate in the Middle Miocene and the desiccation of the Mediterranean in the Messinian (Late Miocene) that led to the deposition of evaporites in the Algero-Balearic basin and erosion of the Mazarrón Escarpment, the Sierra de Cartagena-La Unión shelf, the Mar Menor margin and the adjacent coast. Our data images second order tectonic features (neo-tectonic features) superimposed on the larger structures. These include the deformation of the strata in the Algero-Balearic basin by the gliding of the Plio-Quaternary sediments on Messinian halite on the margins of the basin and sediment loading in its center, the Late Miocene-Quaternary deformation of the area north of the Mazarrón Escarpment resulting from the continuous oblique convergence of the African and Eurasian plates in a NNW-SSE direction, the Miocene to Pleistocene volcanic edifices and pinnacles (dikes), the pockmarks formed by the extrusion of gas/water via faults and the massive gravitational failure of the Mazarrón Escarpment triggered by this plate convergence. The data also show in detail features formed on the Mazarrón Escarpment during the Messinian, Pliocene and Pleistocene regressions and those on the shelf formed during the Pleistocene glacially induced regressions/transgression and sediment drifts generated by modern currents.
PreprintSediment drifts and cold-water coral reefs in the Patagonian upper and middle continental slope( 2012-05) Munoz, Araceli ; Cristobo, J. ; Rios, P. ; Druet, M. ; Polonio, V. ; Uchupi, Elazar ; Acosta, Juan ; Iglesias, S. ; Portela, J. ; del Rio, J. L. ; Parra, S. ; Sacau, M. ; Vilela, R. ; Patrocinio, T. ; Almon, B. ; Elvira, E. ; Jimenez, P. ; Fontan, A. ; Alcala, C. ; Lopez, V.The north flowing Falkland / Malvinas Current has generated sediment drifts at a depth of 1200-1600 m in the Patagonian middle continental slope out of early Holocene hemipelagics, late Pleistocene ice rafted clastics, and Neogene fluvial sediments. Possibly there may be two generations of drifts, Pleistocene on the outer middle slope and Holocene on the inner shelf. The ice rafted debris originated in Antarctica, at a distance of 2000 to 4000 km south of Patagonia. Scattered over the upper and middle slopes, at depths ranging from 300 to 1400 m, are cold-water coral reefs of less than a meter to about ten of meters in relief. It is inferred that most of cold-water coral structures flourish as a consequence of the Falkland /Malvinas Current that concentrates the food supply at the reef sites. Growth of cold-water coral reefs, documented by digital submarine photographs on the upper slope, at a depth of 300/400 m, may be promoted by upwelling of nutrient-rich waters and associated plankton blooms created by the intrusion of Falkland /Malvinas Current onto the outer shelf.