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Freshwater ice rafting: an additional mechanism for the formation of some high-latitude submarine pockmarks

Abstract

 Submarine pockmarks are common features on high-latitude continental shelves, yet the mechanisms for their formation are poorly understood. Here we propose an additional mechanism for the formation of high-latitude pockmarks involving freshwater ice rafting. Freshwater seeping upward through the sediments freezes at the sediment–water interface when bottom waters are below 0°C. Thin layers of the frozen water containing some sediment are buoyant and can rise off the bottom as small ice rafts, thereby excavating a seafloor depression over time. Sediment in the ice rafts becomes entrained in bottom currents and is dispersed over a wide area.

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Paull, C., Ussler III, W. & Borowski, W. Freshwater ice rafting: an additional mechanism for the formation of some high-latitude submarine pockmarks. Geo-Marine Letters 19, 164–168 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s003670050104

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Keywords

  • Depression
  • Thin Layer
  • Continental Shelf
  • Bottom Water
  • Wide Area