Geology of the head of Lydonia Canyon, U.S. Atlantic outer continental shelf

Marine Geology



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The geology of the part of Lydonia Canyon shoreward of the continental shelf edge on the southern side of Georges Bank was mapped using high-resolution seismic-reflection and side-scan sonar techniques and surface sediment grab samples. The head of the canyon incises Pleistocene deltaic deposits and Miocene shallow marine strata. Medium sand containing some coarse sand and gravel covers the shelf except for a belt of very fine sand containing no gravel on either side of the canyon in water depths of 125-140 m. Gravel and boulders, presumably ice-rafted debris, cover the rim of the canyon. The canyon floor and canyon wall gullies are covered by coarse silt of Holocene age which is as much as 25 m thick, and Miocene and Pleistocene strata are exposed on the spurs between gullies. The Holocene sediment is restricted to the canyon shoreward of the shelf edge and has been winnowed from the shelf. Furrows cut in the shelf sands and ripples on the shelf and in the canyon suggest that sediment continues to be moved in this area. Sediment distribution, however, is inconsistent with that expected from the inferred westward sediment transport on the shelf. Either the fine-grained deposits on the shelf to either side of the canyon head are relict or there is a significant component of offshore transport around the canyon head. In the head of Oceanographer Canyon, only 40 km west of Lydonia Canyon, present conditions are strikingly different. The floor of Oceanographer Canyon is covered by sand waves, and their presence indicates active reworking of the bottom sediments by strong currents. The close proximity of the two canyons suggests that the relative importance of processes acting in canyons can be variable over short distances. ?? 1983.

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Geology of the head of Lydonia Canyon, U.S. Atlantic outer continental shelf
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Marine Geology
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Marine Geology
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