Mass movement has influenced in varying degrees the morphology of the United States east coast continental margin seaward of the Baltimore Canyon trough as revealed by detailed geophysical studies using high-resolution 3.5-kHz, and seismic reflection data. Each of three areas studied is along the slope within a distance of 225 km, and is seaward of a nonglaciated shelf but near major land drainage systems. Thick sequences of material believed to be Pleistocene were deposited on the slope in all three areas. Sediment failure in the form of large block movement involving block thicknesses of more than 100 m, however, has taken place in only two of the areas. A factor common to the two areas where failure took place, but absent in the area where no failure took place, is smooth seaward-dipping sub-bottom horizons. Whatever the triggering mechanism, a smooth slip surface that has a seward slope may contribute to mass movement by reducing the internal friction. This may be one of several factors that should be considered in assessing slope stability. ?? 1981.
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Smooth seaward-dipping horizons - An important factor in sea-floor stability?