Analyses of 24 high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles that were collected during local and regional surveys show that small-scale slump deposite are ubiquitous whthin the intercanyon areas of the Continental Slope of the Middle Atlantic Bight. The deposits involve the upper 10-90 m of sediments, extend downslops for 1.8-7.2 km, and are present at water depths ranging from 545 to 1500 m. The characteristics of the deposits vary from thin, homogeneous or fairly regularly bedded lenses of sediment, to masses of intermediate thickness with contorted bedding, to relatively large slump blocks. A detailed survey of one slump mass just south of Hudson Canyon (by means of close-spaced Minisparker profiles and sediment cores) showed that it had a thickness of about 30 m and a volume of at least 0.4 km3 and consisted of homogeneous clay which accumulated rapidly during the late Pleistocene or Holocene. Although some of the slump deposits undoubtedly are relict, stemming from sediment instability porduced by rapid deposition during Pleistocene sea-level regressions, others were formed relatively recently. Possible causes of modern slumps include gas generation in the sediments, bottom-water turbulence on the upper slope, and shallow faulting. This study indicates that small-scale slumping in the intercanyon areas may be an important process in transporting sediments to the deep sea and suggests that recent mass movements may constitute a geologic hazard to future economic development of this part of the Continental Slope. ?? 1979.
Additional Publication Details
Small-scale slump deposits, Middle Atlantic Continental Slope, off eastern United States