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Transport and Depositional Features Associated with Submarine Mudflows, Mississippi Delta, Gulf of Mexico
Christopher Hitchcock1, Michael Angell1, Robert Givler1, and Jim Hooper2
1William Lettis & Associates, Inc., 1777 Botelho Dr., Ste. 262, Walnut
Creek, California 94596
2Fugro-McClelland Marine Geosciences, 6100 Hillcroft St., Houston, Texas 77081
Mudflows along the submerged Mississippi Delta apron in the Gulf of Mexico are part of a complex, dynamic sediment transport and deposition system on the seafloor. Mudflow transport within the Delta generally occurs within well-defined submarine channels or gullies, supplying a complex zone of overlapping mudlobes. Sediment transport in active gullies and deposition in deeper water are associated with localized damage to pipeline and offshore facilities. Three-dimensional visualization of seafloor geomorphic features and historic seafloor change derived from interpretation of 130 years of bathymetric data allows for the identification of portions of the seafloor that have been relatively stable over time, and thus less susceptible to future failure. Locations of active mudflow transport channels and related zones of active mudlobe deposition are associated with distinctive seafloor features and changes in the historic record that can be observed in the available low- and high-resolution bathymetric data sets.
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