, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 849–860 | Cite as

Internal deformation of a muddy gravity flow and its interaction with the seafloor (site C0018 of IODP Expedition 333, Nankai Trough, SE Japan)

  • J. S. Laberg
  • M. Strasser
  • T. M. Alves
  • S. Gao
  • K. Kawamura
  • A. Kopf
  • G. F. Moore
Original Paper


The processes of flow deformation of marine mass-transport sediments, including their ability to affect the underlying substrate and add mass during sediment flow events, are addressed based on sedimentological analyses of strata from the distal part of a ∼61-m-thick mass-transport deposit (MTD 6) drilled during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 333. Our analyses, supported by 3D seismic data, show a cohesive density flow deformed by folding, faulting and shear, except for its lowermost part (∼7 m), where no deformation and sediment entrainment was identified. While the lowermost part moved as rigid sediment, the underlying sand layer acted as the basal shear zone for this part of the distal MTD 6. This shear zone was restricted to the sand, not involving the overlying sediments. From this, the studied part of MTD 6 was found to represent a case where the flow behaviour at least partly depended on the location and properties of the underlying sand layer, a situation that so far has received little attention in studies of marine flows. Our results also show that shear-induced mixing, located by the initial layering, is an important process in the flow transformation from cohesive slumps to mud flows and that this may occur over short distances (<4 km) without involving disintegration into blocks, probably due to only moderate prefailure consolidation of the sediments involved. In conclusion, we find that the bulk part of the flow was self-contained from a mass balance point of view and that that the overall amount of entrainment was limited.


Mass-transport deposits Sedimentology Flow behaviour Basal shear zone Nankai Trough 



This research used samples and data provided by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). We acknowledge the captain and crew of RV Chikyu as well as Marine Works Japan Ltd. for their excellent science technical support and for financial support, the laboratory at the Dept. of Geology, University of Tromsø–the Arctic University of Norway for the grain size analyses and C. Davids and M. Forwick for the valuable input. The participation of JSL at IODP Expedition 333 was funded by the Research Council of Norway through the project ‘Sea floor stability offshore Lofoten, Northern Norway’ (LOSLOPE) to the University of Tromsø–The Arctic University of Norway, while the post-cruise work was part of the ARCEx project (Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration), which also is funded by the Research Council of Norway (grant number 228107) together with 10 academic and eight industry partners. We also acknowledge valuable input from the reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of Tromsø - The Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.3D Seismic Lab, School of Earth and Ocean SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  4. 4.School of Geographic and Oceanographic SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  5. 5.Graduate School of Science and EngineeringYamaguchi UniversityYamaguchiJapan
  6. 6.Marum–Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften der Universität BremenBremenGermany
  7. 7.Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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