Sea level rise and submarine mass failures on open continental margins

D.E. Smith, S. Harrison, Jason T. Jordan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    32 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Submarine mass failures (which include submarine slides or submarine landslides) occur widely on open continental margins. Understanding their cause is of great importance in view of the danger that they can pose both to coastal populations through tsunamis and to the exploitation of ocean floor resources through mass movement of the sea floor. Present knowledge of the causes of submarine mass failures is briefly reviewed, focussing on the role of sea level rise, a process which has previously only infrequently been cited as a cause. It is argued that sea level rise could easily have been involved in at least some of these events by contributing to increased overpressure in sediments of the continental margin whilst causing seismic activity. The Holocene Storegga Slide off South West Norway may have been partly caused by the early Holocene sea level rise in the area, accentuated by meltwater flux from the discharges of Lake Agassiz-Ojibway in North America. Relative sea level rise increased water loading on the Norwegian continental margin, increasing overpressure in the sediments and also causing seismic activity, triggering the Holocene Storegga Slide. Given that some forecasts of future sea level rise are not greatly different from rises which obtained during the early Holocene, the implications of rising sea levels for submarine mass failures in a global warming world are considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-103
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Volume82
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Fingerprint

    sea level
    continental margin
    Holocene
    overpressure
    seafloor
    submarine landslide
    cause
    mass movement
    tsunamis
    sediments
    meltwater
    tsunami
    landslides
    sediment
    snowmelt
    global warming
    Norway
    sea level rise
    Submarine
    Sea-level Rise

    Bibliographical note

    The full text of this item is not available from the repository.

    Keywords

    • climate change
    • continental margin
    • holocene storegga slide
    • sea level rise
    • submarine mass failures

    Cite this

    Sea level rise and submarine mass failures on open continental margins. / Smith, D.E.; Harrison, S.; Jordan, Jason T.

    In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 82, 2013, p. 93-103.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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