The massive submarine flow travelled 1,500 kilometres – the distance from London to Rome – before depositing its load.
Details of the landslide and consequent sediment flow are reported online today in Nature by Dr Peter Talling from the University of Bristol, with colleagues from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton and several other institutions.
Dr Talling said: “The volume of sediment transported by this flow in the deep ocean is difficult to comprehend. It was one of the largest movements of material ever to occur on our planet. This mass was ten times that transported to the ocean every year by all of the Earth’s rivers. The flow was sometimes over 150 km wide, spread across the open sea floor.”
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this giant submarine flow is that it travelled hundreds of kilometres without depositing any sediment on the vast expanse of sea floor that it passed over.
Sediment deposition was finally triggered by a remarkably small but abrupt decrease in sea-floor gradient (from 0.05˚ to 0.01˚). For comparison, most premiership soccer pitches have a gradient of less than 1˚ to help their drainage.
Man is placing more and more structures on the sea floor, including installations for recovering subsurface oil and gas reserves that can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Understanding the cause and evolution of these infrequent undersea flows helps to assess any potential hazards posed to such structures.
Installations involved in oil and gas recovery are typically sited on slopes of greater than 0.05˚. Cores collected next to these installations to help design their foundations are often used for subsequent geohazard analysis.
This work suggests that a more accurate record of these flows is found by coring in the low-gradient basin plains which may be hundreds of kilometres from the installations.
Cherry Lewis | EurekAlert!
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences