Middle to late Pleistocene palaeoceanography inferred from ridge-furrow structures on the continental slope offshore Angola

Hugo Putuhena, Andrew M.W. Newton, Joe Cartwright, Mads Huuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

3D seismic reflection data have been used to map 784 enigmatic ridge-furrow structures in water depths of 0.8–1.7 km offshore Angola. The structures are characterised by asymmetric ridges with intervening furrows, typically <0.5–5.5 km long, with a sinuous to bifurcating planform. The furrows are well-imaged on seismic profiles, and range from 60 to 80 m in width, up to 10 m in amplitude, and 0.1–1 km in wavelength. The furrow sets aggrade in a downslope direction and occur in arrays that have an internally consistent direction that is either parallel, or slightly diverging or converging. Two alternative origins are considered: (1) furrows that are dominantly erosional scours formed from seafloor-incising currents flowing parallel to the furrows, with the ridges a by-product of the erosion, or (2) the ridge-furrows are bottom-current generated dune-type sediment waves. The latter interpretation allows us to reconstruct a key component of the deepwater bottom-currents regime along this continental margin from the Middle Pleistocene to the present-day. The most likely transport agent responsible for the interpreted sediment waves is a palaeo-bottom-current regime with a flow direction toward the west-southwest/south-southwest, the same direction of the sediment wave migration. The palaeo-bottom currents would then be expected to have a very specific flow regime with 1 < Frmax < 2 and may originate from longshore currents cascading off the shelf, Congo Canyon distal overflows, breaking internal waves or a combination of these processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 106562
JournalMarine Geology
Volume439
Early online date09 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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