Recent sediment transport and deposition in the Cap-Ferret Canyon, South-East margin of Bay of Biscay

Research areas:
Year:
2014
Keywords:
210Pb, 234Th, Bay of Biscay, Bioturbation, Cap-Ferret Canyon, Particulate flux, Sediment transport, Sedimentation
Authors:
Journal:
Submarine Canyons: Complex Deep-Sea Environments Unravelled by Multidisciplinary Research
Volume:
104
Number:
ajout_nume
Pages:
134 - 144
Month:
June
ISSN:
0967-0645
Note:
ajout_notes
Abstract:
The Cap-Ferret Canyon ({CFC}), a major morphologic feature of the eastern margin of the Bay of Biscay, occupies a deep structural depression that opens about 60 km southwest of the Gironde Estuary. Detailed depth profiles of the particle-reactive radionuclides 234Th and 210Pb in interface sediments were used to characterise the present sedimentation (bioturbation, sediment mass accumulation, and focusing) in the {CFC} region. Two bathymetric transects were sampled along the {CFC} axis and the southern adjacent margin. Particle fluxes were recorded from the nearby Landes Plateau by means of sediment traps in 2006 and 2007. This dataset provides a new and comprehensive view of particulate matter transfer in the Cap-Ferret Canyon region, through a direct comparison of the canyon with the adjacent southern margin. Radionuclide profiles (234Th and 210Pb) and mass fluxes demonstrate that significant particle dynamics occur on the {SE} Aquitanian margin in comparison with nearby margins. The results also suggest show three distinct areas in terms of sedimentary activity. In the upper canyon ({&}lt;500 m), there is little net sediment accumulation, suggesting a by-pass area. Sediment focusing is apparent at the middle canyon (500{\textendash}1500 m), that therefore acts as a depocenter for particles from the shelf and the upper canyon. The lower canyon ({&}gt;2000 m) can be considered inactive at annual or decadal scales. In contrast with the slow and continuous accumulation of relatively fresh material that characterises the middle canyon, the lower canyon receives pulses of sediment via gravity flows on longer time scales. At decadal scale, the {CFC} can be considered as a relatively quiescent canyon. The disconnection of the {CFC} from major sources of sediment delivery seems to limit its efficiency in particle transfer from coastal areas to the adjacent ocean basin.