Advertisement

Slope Instability of Continental Margins

  • J. Mienert
  • C. Berndt
  • J. S. Laberg
  • T. O. Vorren
Chapter

Abstract

Giant submarine landslides occur on almost every contintental margin. Individual slides involve up to 20,000 km3 of slope material and cover an area of up to 113,000 km2. Their wide spread distribution and their large dimensions make them important geological features, particularly as many of them are located within hydrocarbon exploration areas. The factors that are controlling slope stability are still poorly understood in spite of significant research efforts, and there are only few landslides for which the trigger is known with certainty. It appears that ground motion due to earthquakes, rapid sedimentation, and slope destabilization by gas hydrates are among the most important factors, whereas slope angles seem to be less important.

Keywords

Debris Flow Continental Margin Continental Slope Slope Failure Slope Instability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Booth JS, Winters WJ, Dillon WP (2000) Circumstantial evidence of gas hydrate and slope failure as-sociations on the United States Atlantic continental margin. Ann NY Ac Sci 714:487–489Google Scholar
  2. Bouma AH, Roberts HH, Coleman JM (1992) Late Neogene Louisiana continental margin construction timed by sea-level uctuations. In: Watkins JS, Zhiqiang F, McMillen KJ (eds) Geology and Geophysics of Continental Margins. AAPG Memoir 53:333–341Google Scholar
  3. Bouriak S, Vanneste M, Saoutkine A (2000) Inferred gas hydrates and clay diapirs near the Storegga Slide on the southern edge of the Vøring Plateau, offshore Norway. Mar Geol 163:125–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bugge T, Belderson RH, Kenyon NH (1988) The Storegga Slide. Philos Trans R Soc London 325: 357–388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Byrkjeland U, Bungum H, Eldholm O (2000) Seismotectonics of the Norwegian continental margin. J Geophys Res 105 (B3):6221–6236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coleman JM, Prior DB, Lindsay J (1983) Deltaic influences on shelf edge instability processes. In: Stanley DJ, Moore GT (eds) The Shelf Break: Critical Interface on Continental Margins. SEPM Spec Publ 33:121–137Google Scholar
  7. Dillon WP, Danforth WW, Hutchinson DR, Drury RM, Taylor MH, Booth JS (1998) Evidence for faulting related to dissociation of gas hydrate and release of methane on the southeastern United States. In: Henriet JP, Mienert J (eds) Gas Hydrates: Relevance to World Margin Stability and Climate Change. Geol Soc London Spec Publ 137:293–302Google Scholar
  8. Dimakis P, Elverhøi A, Høeg K, Solheim A, Harbitz C, Laberg JS, Vorren TO, Marr J(2000) Submarine slope stability on high-latitude glaciated Svalbard-Barents Sea margin. Mar Geol 162:303–316Google Scholar
  9. Dingle RV (1977) The anatomy of a large submarine slump on a sheared continental margin (SE Africa). J Geol Soc London 134:293–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dingle RV (1980) Sedimentary basins on the continental margins of southern Africa; an assessment of their hydrocarbon potential. Erdöl Kohle Erdgas Petrochem 33 (10) :447–463Google Scholar
  11. Dupperet A, Bourgois J, Lagabrielle Y, Suess E (1995) Slope instabilities at an active continental margin: Large-scale polyphase submarine slides along the northern Peruvian margin between 5° S and 6° S. Mar Geol 122:303–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Elverhøi A et al. (1997) On the origin and flow behavior of submarine slides on deep-sea fans along the Norwegian-Barents Sea continental margin. Geo-Mar Lett 17:119–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Embley RW (1975) Studies of the deep-sea sedimentation processes using high frequency seismic data. Thesis, Columbia University, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Embley RW, Jacobi R (1977) Distribution and morphology of large sediment slides and slumps on Atlantic continental margins. Mar Geotech 2:205–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans D, King EL, Kenyon NH, Brett C, Wallis D (1996) Evidence for long-term instability in the Storegga Slide region of western Norway. Mar Geol 130:281–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Faugeres JC, Gonthier E, Grousset F, Poutier J (1981) The Feni Drift; the importance and meaning of slump deposits on the eastern slope of the Rockall Bank. Mar Geol 40 (3–4):49–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fjeldskaar W, Lindholm C, Dehls JF, Fjeldskaar I (2000) Postglacial uplift, neotectonics and seismicity in Fennoscandia. Quat Sci Rev 19:1413–1422Google Scholar
  18. Gutmacher C, Normark W (1993) Sur submarine slide, a deep-water sediment slope failure. US Geol Surv Bull 2002:158–166Google Scholar
  19. Haflidason H, Sejrup HP, Bryn P, Lien R (2001) The Storegga Slide, Chronology and flow mechanism, XI Europ U Geosci meeting, 8–12 April, Strasbourg, France, Journal of conference, Abstract 6 (1), p 740Google Scholar
  20. Hampton M, Lee H, Locat J(1996) Submarine landslides. Rev Geophys 34 (1):33–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hovland M, Judd AG (1988) Seabed Pockmarks and Seepages. Impact on Biology, Geology and the Environment. Graham and Trotman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Huang X, Garcia MH (1999) Modeling of non-hydroplaning mud flows on continental slopes. Mar Geol 154 (1–4):132–142Google Scholar
  23. Jacobi RD (1976) Sediment slides on the northwestern continental margin of Africa. Mar Geol 22 (3):157–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keefer DK (1993) The susceptibility of rock slopes to earthquake-induced failure. Bull Int Assoc Eng Geol 30 (3):353–361Google Scholar
  25. King EL, Sejrup HP, Haflidason H, Elverhøi A, Aarseth I (1996) Quaternary seismic stratigraphy of the North Sea Fan: Glacially fed gravity flow aprons, hemipelagic sediments, and large submarine slides. Mar Geol 130:293–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Laberg JS, Vorren TO (2000) The Trænadjupet Slide, offshore Norway — morphology, evacuation and triggering mechanisms. Mar Geol 171:95–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Laberg JS, Vorren TO, Dowdeswell JA, Kenyon NH, Taylor J (2000) The Andøya Slide and the Andøya Canyon, north-eastern Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Mar Geol 162:259–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Martinsen O (1994) Mass movements. In: Maltman A(ed) The Geological Deformation of Sediments. Chapman and Hall, London, pp 127–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McAdoo B, Pratson LF, Orange D (2000) Submarine landslide geomorphology, US continental slope. Mar Geol 169:103–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mello UT, Pratson LF (1999) Regional slope stability and slope-failure mechanics from two-dimensional state of stress in an infinite slope. Mar Geol 154: 339–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mienert J, Posewang J, Baumann M (1998) Gas hydrates along the northeastern Atlantic margin: Possible hydrate-bound margin instabilities and possible release ofmethane. In: Henriet JP, Mienert J (eds) Gas Hydrates: Relevance to World Margin Stability and Climate Change. Geol Soc London Spec Publ 137: 275–291Google Scholar
  32. Mienert J, Andreassen K, Posewang J, Lukas D (2000) Changes of the hydrate stability zone of the Norwegian Margin from glacial to interglacial times. Ann NY Ac Sci 912:200–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mohrig D, Elverhøi A, Parker G (1999) Experiments on the relative mobility of muddy subaqueous and subaerial debris flows, and their capacity to remobilize antecedent deposits. Mar Geol 154 (1–4):117–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Moore GA, Curray JR, Emmel FJ, Yount JC (1976) Dynamic processes of upper Bengal Fan and Swatch of No Ground Canyon, Northeast Indian Ocean. AAPG Bull 60 (4):699Google Scholar
  35. Papantheodorou G, Ferentinos G (1997) Submarine and coastal sediment failure triggered by the 1995, Ms = 6.1 R Aegion earthquake, Gulf of Corinth, Greece. Mar Geol 137:287–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Paull CK, Buelow WJ, Ussler III. W, Borowski WS (1996) Increased continental-margin slumping frequency during sea-level lowstands above gas hydrate-bearing sediments. Geology 24 (2):143–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Piper DJW, Pirmez C, Manley PL, Long D, Flood RD, Normark WR, Showers W (1997) Mass-transport deposits of the Amazon Fan. Proc. Ocean Drill Program Sci Results 155:109–146Google Scholar
  38. Piper DJW, Cochonat P, Morrison M (1999) The sequence of events around the epicentre of the 1929 Grand Banks earthquake: Initiation of debris flows and turbidity current inferred from sidescan sonar. Sedimentol 46:79–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Posewang J, Mienert J (1999) The enigma of double BSRs: Indicators for changes in the hydrate stability field? Geo-Mar Lett 19:157–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rothwell RG, Thomson J, Kähler G (1998) Low-sealevel emplacement of a very large Late Pleistocene “mega-trubidite” in the western Mediterranean Sea. Nature 392 (26):377–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ruddiman WF et al (1987) Proc Ocean Drill Program Initial Rep, vol 94Google Scholar
  42. Scheidegger A (1982) On the tectonic setting of submarine landslides. In: Saxov S (ed) Marine Slides and other Mass Movements. Plenum Press, New York, pp 11–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schwab WC, Lee HJ (1986) Causes of varied slope fail- ure types in clayey silt, Northeast Gulf of Alaska continental shelf, in Abstracts presented at the SEPM Midyear Meeting. vol. 3. pp 99–100Google Scholar
  44. Schwab WC, Lee HJ (1988) Causes of two slope-failure types in continental-shelf sediment, northeastern Gulf of Alaska. J Sediment Petrol 58(1) :1–11Google Scholar
  45. Spudich P, Orcutt J (1982) Estimation of earthquake ground motions relevant to the triggering of marine mass movements. In: Saxov S (ed) Marine Slides and other Mass Movements. Plenum Press, New York, pp 219–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stow DAV, Mayall M (2000) Deep-water sedimentary systems: New models for the 21st century. Mar Petrol Geol 17:125–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Summerhayes CP, Bornhold BD, Embley RW (1979) Surficial slides and slumps on the continental slope and rise of South West Africa; a reconnaissance study. Mar Geol 31 (3–4):265–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Trincardi F, Argnani A (1990) Gela submarine slide: A major basin-wide event in the Plio-Quaternary foredeep of Sicily. Geo-Mar Lett 10:13–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vorren TO, Laberg JS (1997) Trough mouth fans — palaeoclimate and icesheet monitors. Quat Sci Rev 16:865–881CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vorren TO, Laberg JS, Blaume F, Dowdeswell JA, Kenyon NH, Mienert J, Rumohr J, Werner F (1998) The Norwegian-Greenland Sea continental margins: Morphology and late Quarternary sedimentary processes and environment. Quat Sci Rev 17:273–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weaver PPE, Rothwell RG, Ebbing J, Gunn D, Hunter PM (1992) The geochemistry of North Atlantic abyssal plains. Mar Geol 109 (1–2):1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wynn R, Masson D, Stow D, Weaver PPE (2000) The northwest African slope apron: A modern analogue for deep-water systems with complex seafloor topo-graphy. Mar Geol 17:253–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Mienert
    • 1
  • C. Berndt
    • 1
  • J. S. Laberg
    • 1
  • T. O. Vorren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway

Personalised recommendations