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Submarine valleys in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska: Characteristics and probable origin

January 1, 1982

The continental shelf of the northeastern Gulf of Alaska Between Prince William Sound and Cross Sound is cut by at least eight major valleys. From west to east, these are Hinchinbrook Seavalley, Egg Island Trough, Kayak Trough, Bering Trough, Pamplona Troughs, Yakutat Valley, Alsek Valley and Yakobi Valley. Evidence common to most of these troughs or valleys indicating that the present morphology is due to glacial processes includes: (1) a pre-Holocene subbottom erosional surface incised into the underlying lithified strata of the shelf; (2) U-shaped cross sections, both at the sea floor and at the pre-Holocene erosional surface; (3) concave longitudinal sections, commonly shoaling at the seaward end; (4) till-like sediments collected from the walls or outer shelf adjacent to the troughs; and (5) seismic stratigraphy that can be correlated with bottom samples indicative of glacially derived strata. Depressions with tens of meters of relief are present on the pre-Holocene subbottom erosional surface beneath most of these valleys. These depressions have been partially filled by a seaward-thinning wedge of Holocene glacial flour (clayey silt) that is filling the valleys and blanketing the inner shelf at rates as high as 15 mm/yr (based on 210Pb measurements). Although glaciation played a dominant role in the modern morphology of these sea valleys, structural features, including structurally controlled topographic highs on the shelf (e.g. Tarr Bank, Kayak Island, Pamplona Spur and Fairweather Ground) influenced the flow directions of the glacial lobes. ?? 1982.

Publication Year 1982
Title Submarine valleys in the northeastern Gulf of Alaska: Characteristics and probable origin
Authors P. R. Carlson, T. R. Bruns, B. F. Molnia, W. C. Schwab
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geology
Index ID 70011809
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse