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.

Related Articles


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 December 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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