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Bureau Seminar, March 22, 2013

From Mass Transport Deposits to Mars: 10 Years Later - The Journey!

Link to streaming video: available 03.22.2013 at 8:55am

Dr. Lorena Moscardelli
Research Associate
Bureau of Economic Geology
The University of Texas at Austin

Gravity-induced deposits (mass- transport deposits (MTDs) and turbidites) constitute >70% of the entire slope and deepwater stratigraphic column in most continental margins around the world. MTDs are the submarine equivalent of landslides and can be tens to thousands of square kilometers in area. A broad spectrum of subunits can fall into the MTD category; slides, slumps, and debris flows can co-occur as part of the same mass-transport event or depositional unit. In this talk, I will examine the main geomorphological characteristics associated with MTDs by looking at subsurface data from different continental margins around the world. The study of MTDs is important for a wide range of scientific and societal reasons. MTDs are relevant to oil and gas exploration because their occurrence can influence the geometry of stratigraphic traps and formation of effective hydrocarbon seals. Anthropogenic risks can also be linked to the occurrence of MTDs, including geotechnical hazards that can affect offshore infrastructure (pipelines and communication lines) and tsunamigenic hazards that can impact coastal communities. In addition, increasing evidence suggests that submarine mass-transport events were not exclusive to terrestrial environments. Striking geomorphological analogies between terrestrial MTDs and ancient deposits within the northern plains of Mars suggest that these Martian units might have formed subaqueously!


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