Geo-Marine Letters

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 161–169 | Cite as

Evidence of hyperpycnal flows at the head of the meandering Kaoping Canyon off SW Taiwan

  • Cheng-Shing ChiangEmail author
  • Ho-Shing Yu


Using seismic and Chirp sonar profiles, this paper tests the hypothesis that hyperpycnal flows are the main factor controlling the formation and maintenance of the meandering Kaoping submarine canyon off SW Taiwan. Cross-section geometries, and erosional as well as depositional features vary along the canyon course. In the proximal, sinuous part of the canyon, down-cutting into the shelf strata has created a relief of 340 m. The cause of this intense erosion of the seafloor is suggested to be the frequent development of hyperpycnal flows. A seismic section across a meander in the distal part of the canyon shows levees formed by overspilled sediments at the outer bend, and a terrace characterized by relatively flat stratified facies at the inner bend. The geological setting and climatic conditions in SW Taiwan (e.g. earthquakes, typhoons, floods), as well as major river–canyon connections (for example, direct input of highly concentrated suspended sediment) would all promote hyperpycnal flow generation. This causes axial incision, canyon wall slumping, and the formation of levees by spill-over deposition in the upper reach of the Kaoping Canyon.


Turbidity Current Submarine Canyon Seismic Facies Concentrate Suspended Sediment Manila Trench 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank the captain and crew of the R/V Ocean Researcher I for help in data collection at sea. Financial support came from the National Science Council, Taiwan. The critical review of the original manuscript by J.C. Chen, Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, is greatly appreciated, as well as comments by the associate editor M.T. Delafontaine.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hsiuping Institute of TechnologyTaichungRepublic of China
  2. 2.Institute of OceanographyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiRepublic of China

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