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TitleLate Quaternary history of contourite drifts and variations in Labrador Current flow, Flemish Pass, offshore eastern Canada
AuthorMarshall, N R; Piper, D J W; Saint-Ange, F; Campbell, D C
SourceGeo-Marine Letters vol. 34, no. 5, 2014 p. 457-470,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130352
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
ProvinceEastern offshore region
AreaFlemish Cap; Flemish Pass; Beothuk drift
Lat/Long WENS -48.0000 -46.0000 49.0000 46.0000
Subjectssedimentology; geophysics; marine geology; sedimentation rates; sedimentation; seismic interpretations; bathymetry; stratigraphic correlations; stratigraphic analyses; cores; bottom currents; currents; current circulation; Neogene; Labrador Current; Quaternary
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
ProgramMarine Geohazards, Public Safety Geoscience
Released2014 07 12
AbstractContourite drifts of alternating sand and mud, shaped by the Labrador Current, formed during the late Quaternary in Flemish Pass seaward of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Canada. The drifts preserve a record of Labrador Current flow variations through the last glacial maximum. A high-resolution seismic profile and a transect of four cores were collected across Beothuk drift on the southeast side of Flemish Pass. Downcore and lateral trends in grain size and sedimentation rate provide evidence that, between 16 and 13 ka, sediment was partitioned across Beothuk drift and the adjacent Flemish Pass floor by a strong current flow but, from 29 to 16 ka, sedimentation was more of a blanketing style, represented by draped reflections interpreted as being due to a weaker current. The data poorly resolve the low sedimentation rates since 13 ka, but the modern Labrador Current in Flemish Pass is the strongest it has been in at least the past 29 ka. Pre-29 ka current flow is interpreted based on reflection architecture in seismic profiles. A prominent drift on the southwestern side of Flemish Pass formed above a mid-Miocene erosion surface, but was buried by a mass-transport deposit after the penultimate glacial maximum and after drift deposition switched to eastern Flemish Pass. These findings illustrate the temporal complexity of drift sedimentation and provide the first detailed proxy for Labrador Current flow since the last glacial maximum.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Sediment drifts sculpted by the Labrador Current are for the first time recognised as important aspects of the shallow geology throughout Flemish Pass, an area of active petroleum exploration and development. The general growth pattern of drifts in southern Flemish Pass over the past 5 million years and the detailed growth pattern over the past 25 thousand years are documented.