Characteristics and frequency of large submarine landslides at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth

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Abstract

Coastal and submarine landslides are frequent at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth, where small to medium failure events (106-107ĝ€m3) occur on average every 30-50 years. These landslides trigger tsunamis and consequently represent a significant hazard. We use here a dense grid of high-resolution seismic profiles to realize an inventory of the large mass transport deposits (MTDs) that result from these submarine landslides. Six large mass wasting events are identified, and their associated deposits locally represent 30g% of the sedimentation since 130gka in the main western basin. In the case of a large MTD of ĝ1/4 g1gkm3 volume, the simultaneous occurrence of different slope failures is inferred and suggests an earthquake triggering. However, the overall temporal distribution of MTDs would result from the time-dependent evolution of pre-conditioning factors rather than from the recurrence of external triggers. Two likely main pre-conditioning factors are (1) the reloading time of slopes, which varied with the sedimentation rate, and (2) dramatic changes in water depth and water circulation that occurred 10-12gka ago during the last post-glacial transgression. Such sliding events likely generated large tsunami waves in the whole Gulf of Corinth, possibly larger than those reported in historical sources considering the observed volume of the MTDs.

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Beckers, A., Hubert-Ferrari, A., Beck, C., Papatheodorou, G., De Batist, M., Sakellariou, D., … Demoulin, A. (2018). Characteristics and frequency of large submarine landslides at the western tip of the Gulf of Corinth. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 18(5), 1411–1425. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1411-2018

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