International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 721–733

Provenance and pathways of late Quaternary turbidites in the deep-water Agadir Basin, northwest African margin


  • Michael Frenz
    • National Oceanography Centre
    • National Oceanography Centre
  • Aggeliki Georgiopoulou
    • School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary SciencesCardiff University
  • Vera B. Bender
    • Department of Sedimentology and PaleoceanographyUniversity of Bremen
  • Gayle Hough
    • National Oceanography Centre
  • Douglas G. Masson
    • National Oceanography Centre
  • Peter J. Talling
    • Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Bristol
  • Bryan T. Cronin
    • Deep Marine
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00531-008-0313-4

Cite this article as:
Frenz, M., Wynn, R.B., Georgiopoulou, A. et al. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) (2009) 98: 721. doi:10.1007/s00531-008-0313-4


A series of individual turbidites, correlated over distances >100 km, are present in the recent fill of the Agadir Basin, offshore northwest Africa. The aim here is to unravel multiple turbidite source areas and flow pathways, and show how turbidite provenance studies contribute to interpretation of flow processes. Agadir Basin turbidites are sourced from four main areas, with the majority originating from the siliciclastic Morocco Shelf; their sand-mud distribution is strongly controlled by flow sediment volume, with relatively low-volume flows dying out within the Agadir Basin and large-volume flows bypassing significant sediment volumes to basins further downslope. Two large-volume volcaniclastic turbidites are attributed to a Canary Islands landslide source, while several small mud-dominated turbidites are interpreted to be locally sourced from hemipelagic-draped seamounts (e.g. Turbidite AB10). Finally, Turbidite AB1 (∼1 ka) is only present in the western Agadir Basin, and is linked to recent “re-activation” of the Sahara Slide headwall. The muddy suspension clouds of three large-volume flows, all linked to large-scale landslides, have covered huge areas of seafloor and flowed along or even slightly upslope for long distances. It is proposed that northeastwards-flowing bottom currents have aided transport of these dilute flow fractions into and across the Agadir Basin.


Agadir BasinMorocco ShelfCanary IslandsTurbiditesSediment provenance

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© Springer-Verlag 2008