Integrated geophysical, sedimentological and geotechnical investigation of submarine landslides in the Gulf of Lions (Western Mediterranean)

Type Article
Date 2020-05
Language English
Author(s) Badhani ShrayORCID1, 2, Cattaneo AntonioORCID1, Collico Stefano3, Urgeles Roger4, Dennielou BernardORCID1, Leroux EstelleORCID1, Colin FlorentORCID1, Garziglia Sebastien1, Rabineau MarinaORCID2, Droz Laurence2
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Unité de Recherche Géosciences Marines, Centre de Bretagne, 1625 Route de Sainte-Anne, 29280 Plouzané, France
2 : Univ. Brest, CNRS, Univ. Bretagne-Sud, Laboratoire Géosciences Océan, UMR6538 - IUEM, rue Dumont d'Urville, F-29280 Plouzané, France
3 : Igeotest, Carrer Holanda, Num 14 – Poligon Recinte Firal, 17600 Figueres, Girona, Spain
4 : Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Pg.Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Source Geological Society, London, Special Publications (0305-8719) (Geological Society of London), 2020-05 , Vol. 500 , P. 359-376
DOI 10.1144/SP500-2019-175
Note From: Georgiopoulou, A., Amy, L. A., Benetti, S., Chaytor, J. D., Clare, M. A., Gamboa, D., Haughton, P. D. W., Moernaut, J. and Mountjoy, J. J. (eds) 2020. Subaqueous Mass Movements and their Consequences: Advances in Process Understanding, Monitoring and Hazard Assessments. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 500, 359–376. First published online May 14, 2020,

The Gulf of Lions presents recurring mass-transport deposits (MTDs) within the Plio-Quaternary sediments suggesting a long history of mass movements. The two large, surficial MTDs are located on the eastern and western levee of the Rhone canyon over an area exceeding 6000 km2 and volumes exceeding 100 km3. Both MTDs were emplaced 21 ka ago (peak of the Last Glacial Maximum), suggesting a common trigger. Here, we present a multidisciplinary high-resolution geophysical, sedimentological and in-situ geotechnical study of the source and deposit areas of both MTDs to characterise distinct expressions of sediment deformation as well as their spatial and chronological distributions. We show the internal structure of mass movements and resulting MTDs with unprecedented details that were previously represented in the conventional seismic data as transparent and chaotic facies. The combination of multidisciplinary approaches shows new insights into the nature of basal surfaces of the slope failures. In particular, we show that the basal surfaces of the failures consist of clay-rich material contrasting with the overlying turbiditic deposits, suggesting that a strong lithological heterogeneity exists within the strata. We suggest that this change in lithology between clay-rich sediments and turbiditic sequences most likely control the localisation of weak layers and landslide basal surfaces.

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Badhani Shray, Cattaneo Antonio, Collico Stefano, Urgeles Roger, Dennielou Bernard, Leroux Estelle, Colin Florent, Garziglia Sebastien, Rabineau Marina, Droz Laurence (2020). Integrated geophysical, sedimentological and geotechnical investigation of submarine landslides in the Gulf of Lions (Western Mediterranean). Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 500, 359-376. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :