Hydrosweep swath-bathymetry and seismic-reflection data reveal the morphology, sedimentary processes, and structural controls on the submarine San Antonio Canyon. The canyon crosses the forearc slope of the central Chile margin for more than 150 km before it empties into the Chile Trench near 33??S latitude. In its upper reaches, the nearly orthogonal segments of the San Antonio Canyon incise ??? 1 km into thick sediment following underlying margin-perpendicular basement faults and along the landward side of a prominent margin-parallel thrust ridge on the outer mid-slope. At a breach in the outer ridge, the canyon makes a sharp turn into the San Antonio Reentrant. Resistance to erosion of outcropping basement at the head of the reentrant has prevented the development of a uniformly sloping thalweg, leaving gentle gradients ( < 2??) up-canyon and steep gradients ( > 6??) across the lower slope. Emergence of an obstruction across the head of the San Antonio Reentrant has trapped sediment in the midslope segments of the canyon. Presently, little sediment appears to reach the Chile Trench through the San Antonio Canyon. The development of the San Antonio Canyon was controlled by the impact of a subducted seamount, which formed the San Antonio Reentrant and warped the middle slope along its landward advancing path. Incision of the canyon landward of the outer mid-slope ridge may be ascribed to a combination of headward erosion and entrenchment by captured unconfined turbidity currents. Flushing of the canyon was likely enhanced during the lowered sea level of the last glaciation. Where the canyon occupies the triangular embayment of the reentrant at the base of the slope, sediment has ponded behind a small accretionary ridge. On the trench floor opposite the San Antonio Canyon mouth, a 200-m-thick levee-overbank complex formed on the left side of a distributary channel emanating from a breach in the accretionary ridge. Axial transfer of sediment was inhibited to the north of the San Antonio Canyon mouth, which left the trench to the north sediment starved. Between ??? 32??40???S and 33??40???S, the Chile Trench axial turbidite channel deeply incises the San Antonio distributary complex. This entrenchment may have been initiated when the barrier to northward transport was eliminated. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional Publication Details
Late Quaternary evolution of the San Antonio Submarine Canyon in the central Chile forearc ( ??? 33??S)