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Landslides

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 233–248 | Cite as

Sediment failure types, preconditions and triggering factors in the Gulf of Cadiz

  • D. Leynaud
  • T. Mulder
  • V. Hanquiez
  • E. Gonthier
  • A. Régert
Original Paper

Abstract

A series of morphological structures, such as scars and escarpments related to seafloor instabilities, were observed in the Gulf of Cadiz using multibeam bathymetry and acoustic imagery. According to the geometry of the slide scars, the slope angle, the surrounding seafloor morphology and the mechanical parameters of the sediment, we suggest the likely mechanisms initiating the failures for the different types of observed structures. Most of the small-scale sediment failures (≤2 km2) seem directly related to dome-like structures (where slopes are steep) or are located in the vicinity of such structures (fluid flows). It appears that progressive deformation or fluid flow related to the growing of dome-like structures may have weakened the sediments sufficiently to bring 7°-steep slopes to metastable conditions (with a factor of safety close to 1.0). The other instability types are likely related to high-magnitude (Ms > 6) earthquakes, which are prone to occur in this area (located in the neighbourhood of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake area). Some particular large-scale structures were observed among these seafloor features, for example on the Guadalquivir Bank. On this bank, a series of successive large scars (at least 4 km long), composed of multiple and very regular arcuate segments (1 km in diameter), were observed at different bathymetric levels (every 40 m). These structures might be related to a deep-rooted detachment zone (e.g. successive listric faults) and triggered by high-magnitude earthquakes or by accumulated displacement along a tectonic discontinuity. This would explain such a large-scale deformation, providing a regular escarpment of 40 m high without any sediment flow downslope, thereby suggesting an ongoing (or unfinished) deformation.

Keywords

Sediment failures Gulf of Cadiz Stability analysis Mud volcanoes Infinite slope analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The post doc contract was funded by the PRES Bordeaux. The authors would like to express their gratitude towards the Suroît crew and technicians of the University of Bordeaux (EPOC). Thanks to the ANR Isis project. We are grateful to Nabil Sultan, who allowed the use of his 3D numerical model for estimating 3D factors of safety mentioned in this work and to T. Medialdea for providing the HR TASYO8 seismic profile with some useful advices and suggestions.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1

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High resolution image (TIF 4737 kb)
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ESM 2

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10346_2015_674_MOESM2_ESM.tif (5.5 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 5645 kb)
10346_2015_674_MOESM3_ESM.docx (12 kb)
ESM 3 (DOCX 11.6 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Leynaud
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. Mulder
    • 2
  • V. Hanquiez
    • 2
  • E. Gonthier
    • 2
  • A. Régert
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.G-tec s.a.s.Le Havre CedexFrance
  2. 2.UMR 5805 EPOCUniversité de BordeauxTalence CedexFrance
  3. 3.TOTAL EP/EXPLO/IGEO/DER/DMGEOREXParisFrance

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