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New discoveries of mud volcanoes on the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin (Gulf of Cádiz): morpho-structural characterization

Abstract

During the MVSEIS-08 cruise of 2008, ten new mud volcanoes (MVs) were discovered on the offshore Moroccan continental margin (Gulf of Cádiz) at water depths between 750 and 1,600 m, using multibeam bathymetry, backscatter imagery, high-resolution seismic and gravity core data. Mud breccias were recovered in all cases, attesting to the nature of extrusion of these cones. The mud volcanoes are located in two fields: the MVSEIS, Moundforce, Pixie, Las Negras, Madrid, Guadix, Almanzor and El Cid MVs in the western Moroccan field, where mud volcanoes have long been suspected but to date not identified, and the Boabdil and Al Gacel MVs in the middle Moroccan field. Three main morphologies were observed: asymmetric, sub-circular and flat-topped cone-shaped types, this being the first report of asymmetric morphologies in the Gulf of Cádiz. Based on morpho-structural analysis, the features are interpreted to result from (1) repeated constructive (expulsion of fluid mud mixtures) and destructive (gravity-induced collapse and submarine landsliding) episodes and (2) interaction with bottom currents.

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Acknowledgements

We thank David Van Rooij and Silvia Ceramicola for providing corrections and constructive comments which significantly improved the manuscript. This work was supported by the ESF EuroCORES–EuroMARGINS project MVSEIS (O1-LEC-EMA24F/PDCTM72003/DIV/40018, REN2002-11669-EMAR) and is a contribution to the Spanish project CONTOURIBER (CTM 2008-06399-C04/MAR).

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Correspondence to Ricardo León.

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Responsible guest editors: M. De Batist and O. Khlystov

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León, R., Somoza, L., Medialdea, T. et al. New discoveries of mud volcanoes on the Moroccan Atlantic continental margin (Gulf of Cádiz): morpho-structural characterization. Geo-Mar Lett 32, 473–488 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-012-0275-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00367-012-0275-1

Keywords

  • Gravity Core
  • Submarine Landslide
  • Mediterranean Outflow Water
  • High Backscatter
  • Hemipelagic Sediment