Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

In situ measurements of turbidity currents in Monterey submarine canyon

Jingping Xu, Ph.D.
 U.S. Geological Survey

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Pacific Forum 3:00 p.m.

MontereyC2003Diagram.jpg (212117 bytes)

Turbidity currents are thought to be the main mechanism to move ~500,000 m3 of sediments annually from the head of the Monterey submarine canyon to the deep-sea fan. Indirect evidence has shown frequent occurrences of such turbidity currents in the canyon, but the dynamic properties of the turbidity currents such as maximum speed, duration, and dimensions are still unknown. Here we present the first-ever in situ measurements of velocity profiles of four turbidity currents whose maximum along-canyon velocity reached 190 cm/s. Two turbidity currents coincided with storms that produced the highest swells and the biggest stream flows during the year-long deployment.

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