Stacked debris flows offshore Sakarya Canyon, western Black Sea: morphology, seismic characterization and formation processes


Abstract: Analysis of ca. 1400 km of multichannel seismic data indicate that the distal part of the Sakarya Canyon within the continental rise is an unstable region with sediment erosion. Fourteen buried debris flows (DB1-DB14), in the stacked form within Plio-Quaternary sediments between 1400 and 1950 m water depth, were observed in the surveyed area. Their run-out distances range from 3.8 to 24.4 km. The largest debris flow DB10 affects ca. 225 km2 surficial area transporting ca. 15 km3 of sediment in S to N direction. The debris flows in the area are considered as gravity flows of unconsolidated sediments mobilized due to the excess pore pressures occurred in the unconsolidated shallow sediments arising from the high sedimentation rate. We also suggest that extensive seismic activity of North Anatolian Fault (NAF) located ca. 140 km south of the of the study area along with the possible local fault activity is also a significant triggering factor for the flows. The stacked form of the debrites indicates that the excess pore pressure conditions are formed periodically over the time in the continental rise, which makes the region a potentially unstable area for the installation of offshore engineering structures.

Keywords: Western Black Sea, Sakarya Canyon, debris flow, seismic reflection, excess pore pressures

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