Assessment of slope failures off Vancouver Island revealed in EM300 multibeam bathymetry data.

Riedel, Michael , Naegeli, K. and Cote, M. (2016) Assessment of slope failures off Vancouver Island revealed in EM300 multibeam bathymetry data. Open Access . Geological Survey of Canada Open File, 8008 . , 108 pp. DOI 10.4095/297904.

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Multibeam bathymetric data acquired off Vancouver Island across the accretionary prism of the Cascadia subduction zone reveal a prominent segmentation of the deformation front with dominant azimuths of the ridges at ~120° and ~150° and abundant submarine landslides. Both these ridge-orientations are oblique to the direction of subduction (~45°). Ridges at a strike of ~120° show dominantly rectangular-shaped failure head-scarps and intact blocks of sediments within the failed sediment mass, whereas ridges with an azimuth of ~150° show curved head-scarps and incoherent debris in the failure mass. We propose that this systematic change in failure-style is related to the underlying thrust fault system producing steeper and taller ridges for azimuths around 150°, but less steep and tall ridges at 120°. Thus, debris-flow style failure is simply a result of higher kinetic forcing of the down-sliding sediment mass: more mixing and destruction of the coherent blocks for taller and steeper ridges, and blocks of intact sediment for gentle slopes and less elevated ridges. A segmentation of the deformation front and ridge alignment into two dominant azimuths could be a result of: a) complex interaction and competing forces from overall slab-pull (45°), b) re-activated faults orientated almost N-S (~175°) on the oceanic plate and overlying sediment cover (reflected in the magnetic stripes and abyssal plain strike-slip faulting), and c) relative orientation of the back-stop off Vancouver Island and accreted terranes (at ~127° following the coastline between Nootka Island and Port Renfrew). Extensional faulting is observed only at ridges with debris-flow style failure, which also are the ridges with larger height and steeper slopes. These extensional faults may be the result of over-steepening of the ridges and collapse of the sediment pile that can no longer withstand its own weight due to limited internal shear strength.

Document Type: Report (Research Report)
Keywords: Vancouver Island; marine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; structural geology; continental slope; slope deposits; slope failures; slope stability; slope stability analyses; bathymetry; submarine features; submarine transport; landslides; landslide deposits; faults; faulting; Cascadia subduction zone
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.4095/297904
ISSN: 1701-4387
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 12:21
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2016 12:21

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