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Slow build-up of turbidity currents triggered by a moderate earthquake in the Sea of Marmara

Abstract : Earthquake-induced submarine slope destabilization is known to cause debris flows and turbidity currents, but the hydrodynamic processes associated with these events remain poorly understood. Records are scarce and this notably limits our ability to interpret marine paleoseismological sedimentary records. An instrumented frame comprising a pressure recorder and a Doppler recording current meter deployed at the seafloor in the Sea of Marmara Central Basin recorded consequences of a MW = 5.8 earthquake occurring Sept 26, 2019 and of a Mw = 4.7 foreshock two days before. The smaller event caused sediment resuspension but no strong current. The larger event triggered a complex response involving a mud flow and turbidity currents with variable velocities and orientations, which may result from multiple slope failures. A long delay of 10 hours is observed between the earthquake and the passing of the strongest turbidity current. The distance travelled by the sediment particles during the event is estimated to several kilometres, which could account for a local deposit on a sediment fan at the outlet of a canyon, but not for the covering of the whole basin floor. We show that after a moderate earthquake, delayed turbidity current initiation may occur, possibly by ignition of a cloud of resuspended sediment. Some caution is thus required when tying seismoturbidites with earthquakes of historical importance. However, the horizontal extent of the deposits should remain indicative of the size of the earthquake.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03462665
Contributor : Pierre Henry Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 4:24:34 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 7, 2022 - 10:48:01 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, March 3, 2022 - 6:33:22 PM

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Pierre Henry, M Sinan Özeren, Nurettin Yakupoğlu, Ziyadin Çakir, Emmanuel de Saint-Léger, et al.. Slow build-up of turbidity currents triggered by a moderate earthquake in the Sea of Marmara. 2021. ⟨hal-03462665⟩

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