Timing and distribution of calciturbidites around a deeply submerged carbonate platform in a seismically active setting (Pedro Bank, Northern Nicaragua Rise, Caribbean Sea)

  • Andresen N
  • Reijmer J
  • Droxler A
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The sedimentological study of thirteen sediment cores from the periplatform setting surrounding Pedro Bank (Northern Nicaragua Rise, Caribbean Sea) shows that during the last 300 ka turbidite deposition is controlled by at least four factors: (1) late Quaternary sea level fluctuations, (2) prolific fine-grained sediment production and export resulting in oversteepening of the upper slope environment, (3) the proximity to the bank margin, and (4) local slope and seafloor morphology. The most intriguing finding of this study is the paucity of turbidites, with only 101 turbidites in 13 cores in this tectonically active setting near the Caribbean plate boundary. Throughout the last 300 ka, the frequency of turbidite input during interglacial stages is three times higher than during glacial stages. Also it is obvious that changes in sea level influence the timing of turbidite deposition. This is especially evident during the transgressions resulting in rapid renewed bank-top flooding, subsequent neritic sediment overproduction, and offbank export. The flooding event during each transgression is usually recorded by the onset of turbidite deposition at various sites along several platform-to-basin transects in down- and upcurrent slope settings. Overall, however, more turbidites are deposited during the regressive rather than the transgressive phases in sea level, probably as a result of sediment reorganisation on the slope resulting in slope failure. Five cores show "highstand bundling" of calciturbidites, i.e. higher number of turbidites during highstands than during lowstands in sea level.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Calciturbidites
  • Carbonate platforms
  • Highstand bundling
  • Sea level fluctuations

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