Gravity flow deposits, Taiwan


Sediment deposit generated by gravity flow in a submarine canyon

This project was designed to characterize sediment accumulation in a submarine canyon with no major river source on an active continental margin. In collaboration with several Taiwanese scientists, we investigated the effects of a 2006 earthquake and 2009 typhoon in Fangliao Canyon, SW Taiwan. The work was funded by the US NSF and the Taiwan NSC, through the EAPSI fellowship. We found evidence of gravity flows generated by the earthquake and storm processes, through the investigation of a series of short (<50 cm) sediment cores. We used a suite of textural, radiochemical, and geochemical tracers to identify events, and attempt to determine the specific type of gravity flow responsible. This research emphasizes the importance of gravity flows on sediment transport, as well as the role that seemingly dormant submarine canyons can play as conduits for material from the terrestrial to deep-marine environments.

Project publications:

Hale, R., Nittrouer, C., Liu, J.T., Keil, R.G., Ogston, A.S., Effects of a Major Typhoon on Sediment Accumulation in Fangliao Submarine Canyon, SW Taiwan, Marine Geology (2012).

Funding source: National Science Foundation, Taiwan NSC

People: Chuck Nittrouer, Rip Hale