Neogene sedimentary and mass-wasting processes on the continental margin off south-central Chile inferred from dredge samples.

Raitzsch, Markus, Völker, David and Heubeck, Christoph (2007) Neogene sedimentary and mass-wasting processes on the continental margin off south-central Chile inferred from dredge samples. Marine Geology, 244 (1/4). pp. 166-183. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2007.06.007.

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The active continental margin off south-central Chile (36° to 40°S) is transitional between the tectonically erosive, empty-trench margin north of Juan Fernandez Ridge and the accretionary, trench-filled margin south of the Chile Triple Junction. The small width of the presently active accretionary wedge (maximum width of 25 to 50 km) argues for past phases of tectonic erosion. At present, this sector shows indications of contemporaneous accretion, subduction, and underplating of sediment, as well as readjustment of the slope by various mass-wasting processes.

In this context, this study aims to examine the Neogene sedimentary processes on the continental margin from dredge samples recovered during R/V SONNE cruise SO161-5 within this transitional domain using lithology, sandstone petrology, shale mineralogy, and analysis of sedimentary structures. Our results yield that the principal transport of material occurs in high-energy turbidity currents and debris flows via submarine canyons deeply cutting the continental slope, whereas sediment on the shelf is transported by strong coast-parallel bottom currents and trapped by submarine canyons cutting into the shelf. A wide range of mass-wasting processes including slumping, debris flows, evolving to low-density turbidity currents and mud flows, rework the slope sediments. In contrast, thick undisturbed sequences of mostly hemipelagic sediments accumulate in active slope basins, which are largely protected from mass movements.

XRD analyses revealed early diagenetic lithification and overall burial depths of up to ∼ 230 mbsf, suggesting a shallow-subsurface cycle of sedimentation, subsidence, diagenesis, uplift, erosion, and resedimentation. The composition of sandstones is dominated by volcanic rock fragments of Andean provenance. Along-strike modal changes reflect a southward increase in glacially denudation and rainfall, the combination of which caused more intense erosion of volcanic rocks and exposure, weathering and, as a result, increased fluvial transport of metamorphic and plutonic rocks to the sea.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: south-central Chile, continental slope, submarine sedimentation, mass-wasting, sediment reworking, dredge sample
Research affiliation: OceanRep > SFB 574
OceanRep > SFB 574 > A1
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2007.06.007
ISSN: 0025-3227
Projects: SPOC
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:51
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 19:40

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