Does retrogression always account for the large volume of submarine megaslides? Evidence to the contrary from the Tampen Slide, offshore Norway

Barrett, R. S., Bellwald, B., Talling, P. J., Micallef, Aaron, Gross, Felix, Berndt, Christian, Planke, S., Myklebust, R. and Krastel, Sebastian (2021) Does retrogression always account for the large volume of submarine megaslides? Evidence to the contrary from the Tampen Slide, offshore Norway Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 126 (2). e2020JB020655. DOI 10.1029/2020JB020655.

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Abstract

Submarine landslides can be several orders of magnitude larger than their terrestrial counterparts and can pose significant hazards across entire ocean basins. The landslide failure mechanism strongly controls the associated tsunami hazard. The Tampen Slide offshore Norway is one of the largest landslides on Earth but remains poorly understood due to its subsequent burial beneath up to 450 m of sediments. Here, we use laterally extensive (16,000 km2), high‐resolution processed 3D seismic reflection data to characterize the upper Tampen Slide. We identify longitudinal (downslope, movement‐parallel) chutes and ridges that are up‐to‐40 m high, as well as extensional and compressional (cross‐slope) ridges. This is the first time that longitudinal ridges of such size have been imaged in a deep marine setting. The first phase of the Tampen Slide involved the simultaneous translation of over 720 km3 of sediments along a single failure plane. This was followed by spreading along the head‐ and sidewall, and the formation of a retrogressive debris flow and slump, the volumes of which are insignificant compared to the first failure. The process responsible for movement of such a large sediment volume along a single glide plane differs significantly from that of other passive margin megaslides, which typically comprise numerous smaller landslides that fail retrogressively along multiple glide planes. The trigger mechanism (e.g. an earthquake), the presence of mechanically strong obstructions (e.g. igneous topographical high), and the number and location of weak layers may be key factors that determine whether megaslides develop along a single plane or retrogressively.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Submarine landslide, Tampen Slide, Failure mechanism, Glide plane, Longitudinal ridges
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-GDY Marine Geodynamics
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2020JB020655
ISSN: 2169-9356
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 15:16
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2021 14:19
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/51377

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