Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enormous Submarine Landslide 60,000 Years Ago Produced The Longest Flow Of Sand And Mud On Earth

Date:
November 22, 2007
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
An enormous submarine landslide that disintegrated 60,000 years ago produced the longest flow of sand and mud yet documented on Earth. The massive submarine flow traveled 1,500 kilometers -- the distance from London to Rome -- before depositing its load.

Bathymetric image showing the ocean floor off the northwest coast of Africa.
Credit: Photo by courtesy of T. Le Bas

An enormous submarine landslide that disintegrated 60,000 years ago produced the longest flow of sand and mud yet documented on Earth. The massive submarine flow travelled 1,500 kilometres -- the distance from London to Rome -- before depositing its load.

Details of the landslide and consequent sediment flow are reported online in Nature by Dr Peter Talling from the University of Bristol, with colleagues from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton and several other institutions.

Dr Talling said: "The volume of sediment transported by this flow in the deep ocean is difficult to comprehend. It was one of the largest movements of material ever to occur on our planet. This mass was ten times that transported to the ocean every year by all of the Earth's rivers. The flow was sometimes over 150 km wide, spread across the open sea floor."

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this giant submarine flow is that it travelled hundreds of kilometres without depositing any sediment on the vast expanse of sea floor that it passed over.

Sediment deposition was finally triggered by a remarkably small but abrupt decrease in sea-floor gradient (from 0.05 to 0.01). For comparison, most premiership soccer pitches have a gradient of less than 1 to help their drainage.

Man is placing more and more structures on the sea floor, including installations for recovering subsurface oil and gas reserves that can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Understanding the cause and evolution of these infrequent undersea flows helps to assess any potential hazards posed to such structures.

Installations involved in oil and gas recovery are typically sited on slopes of greater than 0.05. Cores collected next to these installations to help design their foundations are often used for subsequent geohazard analysis.

This work suggests that a more accurate record of these flows is found by coring in the low-gradient basin plains which may be hundreds of kilometres from the installations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Enormous Submarine Landslide 60,000 Years Ago Produced The Longest Flow Of Sand And Mud On Earth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121145010.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2007, November 22). Enormous Submarine Landslide 60,000 Years Ago Produced The Longest Flow Of Sand And Mud On Earth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121145010.htm
University of Bristol. "Enormous Submarine Landslide 60,000 Years Ago Produced The Longest Flow Of Sand And Mud On Earth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071121145010.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins