Lateral migration of large sedimentary bodies in a deep-marine system offshore of Argentina

Adam Kirby, F. J. Hernández-Molina, Sara Rodrigues

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Contourite features are increasingly identified in seismic data, but the mechanisms controlling their evolution remain poorly understood. Using 2D multichannel reflection seismic and well data, this study describes large Oligocene‐ to middle Miocene‐aged sedimentary bodies that show prominent lateral migration along the base of the Argentine slope. These form part of a contourite depositional system with four morphological elements: a plastered drift, a contourite channel, an asymmetric mounded drift, and an erosive surface. The features appear within four seismic units (SU1–SU4) bounded by discontinuities. Their sedimentary stacking patterns indicate three evolutionary stages: an onset stage (I) (~ 34–25 Ma), a growth stage (II) (~ 25–14 Ma), and (III) a burial stage (< 14 Ma). The system reveals that lateral migration of large sedimentary bodies is not only confined to shallow or littoral marine environments and demonstrates how bottom currents and secondary oceanographic processes influence contourite morphologies. Two cores of a single water mass, in this case, the Antarctic Bottom Water and its upper interface, may drive upslope migration of asymmetric mounded drifts. Seismic images also show evidence of recirculating bottom currents which have modulated the system’s evolution. Elucidation of these novel processes will enhance basin analysis and palaeoceanographic reconstructions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20291
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2021

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