Zambezi continental margin: compartmentalized sediment transfer routes to the abyssal Mozambique Channel

Wilfried.Jokat [ at ]


Sediment delivery to the abyssal regions of the oceans is an integral process in the source to sink cycle of material derived from adjacent continents and islands. The Zambezi River, the largest in southern Africa, delivers vast amounts of material to the inner continental shelf of central Mozambique. The aim of this contribution is to better constrain sediment transport pathways to the abyssal plains using the latest, regional, high-resolution multibeam bathymetry data available, taking into account the effects of bottom water circulation, antecedent basin morphology and sea-level change. Results show that sediment transport and delivery to the abyssal plains is partitioned into three distinct domains; southern, central and northern. Sediment partitioning is primarily controlled by changes in continental shelf and shelf-break morphology under the influence of a clockwise rotating shelf circulation system. However, changes in sealevel have an overarching control on sediment delivery to particular domains. During highstand conditions, such as today, limited sediment delivery to the submarine Zambezi Valley and Channel is proposed, with increased sediment delivery to the deepwater basin being envisaged during regression and lowstand conditions. However, there is a pronounced along-strike variation in sediment transport during the sea-level cycle due to changes in the width, depth and orientation of the shelf. This combination of features outlines a sequence stratigraphic concept not generally considered in the strike-aligned shelf-slope-abyssal continuum.

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DOI 10.1007/s11001-016-9301-4

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Wiles, E. , Green, A. , Watkeys, M. K. and Jokat, W. (2017): Zambezi continental margin: compartmentalized sediment transfer routes to the abyssal Mozambique Channel , Marin Geophysical Research, 38 (3), pp. 227-240 . doi: 10.1007/s11001-016-9301-4

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