The Last Glacial Maximum Balearic Abyssal Plain Megabed revisited

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Antonio Cattaneo


Megabeds are thick sedimentary layers extending over thousands square kilometres in deep sea basins and are thought to result from large slope failures triggered by major external events. Such deposits have been found in at least three areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Although their discovery dates back to the early 1980s, many questions remain, concerning their initiation, source area, extent, and the nature of their emplacement. One of the largest previously documented megabeds was emplaced during the Last Glacial Maximum across the Balearic Abyssal Plain with a thickness of 8-10 m in water depths of up to 2800 m.
New 3.5 kHz sub-bottom profiles and sediment cores provide greater constraint on the lateral variability of the megabed and allow to map it beyond previous estimates, with a revised areal extent up to 90,000-100,000 km2. Megabed terminations show gradual pinch-out to the West and an abrupt eastward termination against the Sardinia steep margin. The megabed presents both in seismic profiles and in sediment cores a tripartite subdivision likely corresponding to changes in flow regimes across the basin with a central area of sandy facies and erosional base oriented NNE-SSW allowing renewed discussions about sources and trigger of the megabed.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Sedimentology



Published: 2020-03-18 16:43


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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