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Impact of Tectonic, Glacial and Contour Current Processes on the Late Cenozoic Sedimentary Development of the Southeast Greenland Margin

Geophysical Department; Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Geosciences 2019, 9(4), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9040157
Received: 1 February 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 21 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interacting Alongslope and Downslope Sedimentary Processes)
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Abstract

To understand the geomorphological contrast between the northern and southern parts of the Southeast Greenland margin with its marked differences in sedimentary regime, bathymetric and seismic reflection, data have been compiled and analysed. While previous studies focused on selected parts of this margin, the present study provides an intergraded overview of the entire margin from Cap Farewell to Denmark Strait. The prominent north–south contrast shows a wide northern shelf and a narrow southern shelf. The origin of this width disparity can be traced back to the initial formation stage of the Irminger Sea due to regional differences in uplift versus oceanic subsidence. This regional tectonic discrepancy also created a difference in sediment accommodation space that, in combination with a weak ocean circulation regime, favoured formation of Oligocene–Miocene turbidite fan complexes along the lower southern slope. These fan complexes became the core of sediment drift ridges that strike perpendicular to the slope. Strong bottom currents, which gradually increase in strength towards the south, were mainly prevalent during warmer climate stages. During glacial periods, downslope transport of glacigenic sediments and hyperpycnal meltwater flow further shaped the large drift ridges and formed several relatively narrow, V-shaped turbidite channels extending towards the deep Irminger Sea basin. These V-shaped channels are still active today when cascading dense winter water from the shelf flows downwards along the shelf to the Irminger Sea basin. View Full-Text
Keywords: Southeast Greenland margin; Late Cenozoic; glaciation; contourite drift; contour currents; turbidity currents; canyons and channels Southeast Greenland margin; Late Cenozoic; glaciation; contourite drift; contour currents; turbidity currents; canyons and channels
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Heirman, K.A.; Nielsen, T.; Kuijpers, A. Impact of Tectonic, Glacial and Contour Current Processes on the Late Cenozoic Sedimentary Development of the Southeast Greenland Margin. Geosciences 2019, 9, 157.

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