Advertisement

Submarine Slope Stability Assessment of the Central Mediterranean Continental Margin: The Gela Basin

  • Fei AiEmail author
  • Jannis Kuhlmann
  • Katrin Huhn
  • Michael Strasser
  • Achim Kopf
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 37)

Abstract

This study investigates slope stability for a relatively small scale (5.7 km2, 0.6 km3), 8 kyr old landslide named Northern Twin Slide (NTS) at the slope of the Gela Basin in the Sicily Channel (central Mediterranean). The NTS is characterized by two prominent failure scars, forming two morphological steps of 110 and 70 m height. Geotechnical data from a drill core upslope the failure scar (GeoB14403) recovered sediments down to ∼52 m below seafloor (mbsf). The deposits show low over consolidation ratio (OCR = 0.24–0.4) and low internal friction angle (20–22°) around 28–45 mbsf, which suggests this mechanically weak interval may act as potential location of instability in a future failure event. Oedometer tests attest the sediments are highly under consolidated and the average overpressure ratio (λ*) is ∼0.7. Slope stability analyses carried out for different scenarios indicate that the slope is stable both under static undrained and drained conditions. A relatively small horizontal acceleration of 0.03–0.08 g induced by an earthquake may be sufficient to cause failure. We propose that moderate seismic triggers may have been responsible for the twin slide formation and could also cause mass wasting in the future.

Keywords

Slope stability Submarine landslide Geotechnical characteristics Central Mediterranean 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the captain and crew of the RV Meteor for their support during the cruise MSM 15/3. Matthias Lange is thanked for outstanding technical assistance with the geotechnical laboratory devices. This study has been funded through DFG-Research Center/Cluster of Excellence “The Ocean in the Earth System”. We also like thank reviewers Brandon Dugan and Vasilios Lykousis for their constructive remarks.

References

  1. Argnani A, Cornini S, Torelli L, Zitellini N (1986) Neogene-quaternary foredeep system in the strait of Sicily. Mem Soc Geol Italy 36:123–130Google Scholar
  2. ASTM (2004a) Standard test methods for one-dimensional consolidation properties of soils using incremental loading (Standard D2435-04). ASTM International, West Conshohocken, p 10Google Scholar
  3. ASTM (2004b) Standard test method for direct shear test of soils under consolidated drained conditions (Standard D3080-04). ASTM International, West Conshohocken, p 7Google Scholar
  4. Bennett RH, Nelsen TA (1983) Seafloor characteristics and dynamics affecting geotechnical properties at shelf breaks. SEPM Spec Publ 33:333–355Google Scholar
  5. Bindi D, Pacor F, Luzi L, Puglia R, Massa M, Ameri G, Paolucci R (2011) Ground motion prediction equations derived from the Italian strong motion database. Bull Earthq Eng 9(6):1899–1920. doi: 10.1007/s10518-011-9313-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blum P (1997) Physical properties handbook: a guide to the shipboard measurement of physical properties of deep-sea cores. ODP Tech Notes 26:118Google Scholar
  7. Casagrande A (1932) Research on the Atterberg limits of soil. Public Roads 13(8):121–136Google Scholar
  8. Casagrande A (1936) The determination of the pre-consolidation load and its practical significance. In: Proceedings of the 1st international conference of soil mechanics and foundation engineering 3, pp 60–64Google Scholar
  9. Dugan B, Sheahan TC (2012) Offshore sediment overpressures of passive margins: mechanisms, measurement, and models. Rev Geophys 50(3), RG3001. doi: 10.1029/2011rg000379 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Emeis K, Robertson A, Richter C (1996) Site 963. Proceedings ODP, Initial Report 160, pp 55–84Google Scholar
  11. Flemings PB, Long H, Dugan B, Germaine J, John CM, Behrmann JH, Sawyer D, Scientists IE (2008) Pore pressure penetrometers document high overpressure near the seafloor where multiple submarine landslides have occurred on the continental slope, offshore Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico. Earth Planet Sci Lett 269(3–4):309–325. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2007.12.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Grasso M (1993) Pleistocene structures along the Ionian side of the Hyblean Plateau (SE Sicily): implications for the tectonic evolution of the Malta Escarpment. In: Max MD, Colantoni P (eds) Geological development of the Sicilian-Tunisian platform, vol 58, UNESCO report marine science. UNESCO, Paris, pp 49–54Google Scholar
  13. Kuhlmann J, Asioli A, Strasser M, Trincardi F, Huhn F (2013) Integrated stratigraphic and morphological investigation of the Twin Slide complex offshore southern Sicily. In: Krastel S et al (eds) Submarine mass movements and their consequences. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  14. Lamb TW, Whitman RV (1969) Soil mechanics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  15. Locat J, Lee HJ (2002) Submarine landslides: advances and challenges. Can Geotech J 39(1):193–212. doi: 10.1139/t01-089 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Løseth TM (1999) Submarine massflow sedimentation: computer modelling and basin-fill stratigraphy. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Masson DG, Harbitz CB, Wynn RB, Pedersen G, Løvholt F (2006) Submarine landslides: processes, triggers and hazard prediction. Philos Trans R Soc A Math Phys Eng Sci 364(1845):2009–2039. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2006.1810 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Minisini D, Trincardi F (2009) Frequent failure of the continental slope: the Gela Basin (Sicily Channel). J Geophys Res 114(F3), F03014. doi: 10.1029/2008jf001037 Google Scholar
  19. Minisini D, Trincardi F, Asioli A, Canu M, Foglini F (2007) Morphologic variability of exposed mass-transport deposits on the eastern slope of Gela Basin (Sicily channel). Basin Res 19(2):217–240. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2117.2007.00324.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morgenstern NR (1967) Submarine slumping and the initiation of turbidity currents. In: Richards AF (eds) Marine Geotechnique. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, pp 189--210Google Scholar
  21. Seed HB (1979) Considerations in earthquake-resistant design of earth and rock-fill dams. Géotechniques 29:215–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Seed HB, Idriss IM (1971) Simplified procedure for evaluating soil liquefaction potential. J Soil Mech Found Div Proc Am Soc Civil Eng 97:1249–1273Google Scholar
  23. Strasser M, Hilbe M, Anselmetti F (2011) Mapping basin-wide subaquatic slope failure susceptibility as a tool to assess regional seismic and tsunami hazards. Mar Geophys Res 32:331–347. doi: 10.1007/s11001-010-9100-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. ten Brink US, Lee HJ, Geist EL, Twichell D (2009) Assessment of tsunami hazard to the U.S. East Coast using relationships between submarine landslides and earthquakes. Mar Geol 264(1–2):65–73. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2008.05.011 Google Scholar
  25. Terzaghi K, Peck RB, Mesri G (1996) Soil mechanics in engineering practice. Wiley Inter Science, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Trincardi F, Argnani A (1990) Gela submarine slide: a major basin-wide event in the plio-quaternary foredeep of Sicily. Geo-Mar Lett 10(1):13–21. doi: 10.1007/bf02431017 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Verdicchio G, Trincardi F (2008) Mediterranean shelf-edge muddy contourites: examples from the Gela and South Adriatic basins. Geo-Mar Lett 28(3):137–151. doi: 10.1007/s00367-007-0096-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wood DM (1985) Some fall-cone tests. Geotechnique 38:64–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei Ai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jannis Kuhlmann
    • 1
  • Katrin Huhn
    • 1
  • Michael Strasser
    • 2
  • Achim Kopf
    • 1
  1. 1.MARUM-Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, and Faculty of GeosciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Geological InstituteETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations