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Current-controlled, abyssal microtopography and sedimentation in Mozambique Basin, southwest Indian Ocean

January 1, 1980

The Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) activity and the variations in the abundance and grain size of the terrigenous sediments, derived from Africa and Madagascar land masses, are reflected in different types of microtopography in the Mozambique Basin. In southerly areas, where the sediment supply is much less, the bottom-current activity has resulted in the presence of manganese nodules, a thin veneer of sediments, and the absence of sediment waves. Farther north, along the marginal areas of the basin where the fine-grained sediments from the Africa-Madagascar source have been supplied in abundance, wavy bedforms have been generated by AABW. Wavy bedforms do not exist even in the northerly areas if coarse-grained, turbidite sediments are present on the sea floor. The continuation of acoustic reflectors from the zone of turbidites in the central areas of the basin into the zone of sediment waves along the margins, and the lithology and structures in sediment cores from these zones suggest that the turbidity-current-fed, fine-grained sediments were deposited as wavy bedforms by AABW flow. Thus, sediment waves formed readily during Pleistocene times. The enrichment of quartz and displaced Antarctic diatoms, and the relatively low kaolinite/chlorite ratios in the sediments, the north-pointing current lineations on the sea floor, the lack of any perceptible sedimentary fill in the troughs of waves, and the dense nepheloid layer in the westerly areas of the Mozambique Basin, attest to the current-controlled sedimentation and generation of wavy bedforms during Holocene time also. The formation of sediment waves in the Mozambique Basin can be modeled after a fluvial antidune mechanism. This model envisages that internal waves, focussed on a benthic boundary layer cap, have been locked in phase with sediment waves in the presence of an 8-10 cm/sec current in the Mozambique Basin. A density contrast of 2??10-6 g/cm3 appears to exist at the tops of benthic boundary layers in the Mozambique Basin and is quite sufficient for supporting the internal waves. The densiometric Froude number calculated for a 60-280 m thick boundary layer in the basin is close to unity or greater, and is compatible with the antidune model. ?? 1980.

Publication Year 1980
Title Current-controlled, abyssal microtopography and sedimentation in Mozambique Basin, southwest Indian Ocean
Authors V. Kolla, S. Eittreim, L. Sullivan, J.A. Kostecki, L.H. Burckle
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Index ID 70012312
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse