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Leveed-Channel Deposits, Turbidites, and Contourites in Deeper Part of Gulf of Mexico
Arnold H. Bouma (1)
A number of leveed-channels can be observed on bathymetric charts from the middle and outer fan of the Mississippi Delta apron. Shallow seismic surveys indicate a complexity of shallow channels with their low levees, while cores present minor differences between subenvironments: the levees normally containing a higher plant debris content and finer material. The irregular surface smoothens toward the southeast, and small ripples occur on its surface at certain locations. These deposits are interpreted as contourites: fine sands and silts that are redeposited by deep water bottom currents.
Off the Mississippi Delta apron toward the west, the flat abyssal plain is encountered. The subbottom reflectors are dense and parallel to the surface, the cores indicate a general increase in sand/clay ratio followed by a decrease further west and the deposits can be interpreted as distal turbidites.
Although the variation in aspect and the density of each sedimentary property differs little between the three mentioned depositional areas, the combination of lithological alternations, sedimentary structures, high-resolution subbottom profiling and bottom photography allow the development of models that can be used in recent and ancient sediments.
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