About This Item

Share This Item

The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 63 (1979)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 453

Last Page: 453

Title: Subaqueous Gravity-Displacement Products: ABSTRACT

Author(s): G. M. Friedman

Article Type: Meeting abstract


All sediments deposited on subaqueous slopes are affected by the tangential component of the earth's gravity. Among the kinds of gravity-displacement processes are subaqueous rock falls, slumps, and debris flows. Turbidity currents are likewise processes affected by the slope, but are not a subject of discussion here.

Individual blocks of rock move down a slope from reefs and coastal cliffs; they result from bioerosion, the effects of storm, or ordinary gravity. Incoherent slumps generate a body of sediment so thoroughly mixed and churned that nearly all traces of stratification are obliterated. Debris-flow deposits containing large blocks are known as olistostromes. In places, such olistostromes have been mistaken for melanges, a mixture of huge blocks of diverse kind and provenance dispersed in pervasively sheared and fine-grained matrix which forms a special kind of tectonic breccia. Deep-water rubble of shallow-water carbonate rocks, usually angular, interstratified with dark deep-water marine shale is known as brecciola. Brecciolas accumulate at the toe of the slope. On the upper part of the s ope accumulate sediments resulting from coherent slumps which have moved down a slope with their strata still preserved. Deposits of slope-influenced sediments may also result from contour-following currents (contourites) which travel along the lower parts of slopes.

Many examples of ancient gravity-displacement products have been reported from the rock record, among them the so-called melanges (in fact, olistostromes) of Turkey, slope-fan-basin-plain deposits of the Appalachians, and basinal deposits in the Delaware basin of west Texas. In the Taconic sequence of the Appalachians, as in many other hinge-line deposits, only the lower slope and base-of-slope portion of the early Paleozoic continental margin has been preserved.

End_of_Article - Last_Page 453------------

Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists