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Sediment delivery to the Gulf of Alaska occurs via four areally extensive deep-water fans, sourced from grounded tidewater glaciers. During periods of climatic cooling, glaciers cross a narrow shelf and discharge sediment down the continental slope. Because the coastal terrain is dominated by fjords and a narrow, high-relief Pacific watershed, deposition is dominated by channellized point-source fan accumulations, the volumes of which are primarily a function of climate. The sediment distribution is modified by a long-term tectonic translation of the Pacific plate to the north along the transform margin. As a result, the deep-water fans are gradually moved away from the climatically controlled point sources. Sets of abandoned channels record the effect of translation during the Plio-Pleistocene.
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Sediment delivery to the Gulf of Alaska: source mechanisms along a glaciated transform margin