Submarine landslides along the Malacca Strait-Mergui Basin shelf margin: Insights from sequence-stratigraphic analysis

TitleSubmarine landslides along the Malacca Strait-Mergui Basin shelf margin: Insights from sequence-stratigraphic analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLin Y-NNina, Sieh K, Stock J
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume115
ISBN Number0148-0227
Abstract

The enormously destructive tsunami of December 2004, caused by sudden motion of the Sunda megathrust beneath the Indian Ocean, raised concerns about tectonically induced tsunami worldwide. Submarine landslides may also trigger dangerous tsunami. However, the potential and repeat time for such events is in most places poorly known due to inadequate exploration of the sea floor and age constraints. The high sediment flux and tectonic subsidence rate of the Malacca StraitMergui Basin shelf margin NE of northernmost Sumatra provide a favorable environment to generate and preserve submarine landslides. From ten seismic reflection profiles acquired in 2006, we identify three sediment packages that exhibit sliding characteristics such as headscarps, distorted beds and debristoe structures. We assign lowstand marine isotope stages to the paleoshoreline indicators observed in the profiles. We then determine the ages of these submarine landslides as 2030 ka, 342364 ka and 435480 ka by the paleoshoreline indicators that bound the top and bottom of the slide bodies. This sequencestratigraphic approach shows that these events occurred near times of sealevel lowstands, which implies that a large amount of direct sediment influx during glacial periods is an essential precondition for basinmargin submarine landsliding. Spatiotemporal variations of sediment input due to lobe switching or Asian monsoon intensity changes also control basinmargin instability. Because we are currently at a highstand stage, and sediment flux to the continental margin is relatively small, so the chance of having a repeat submarine landslide and landslide tsunami along this basinmargin is low.

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