Late Holocene fine-grained sediments of the Balearic Abyssal Plain, Western Mediterranean Sea

TitleLate Holocene fine-grained sediments of the Balearic Abyssal Plain, Western Mediterranean Sea
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsZuniga, D, Garcia-Orellana, J, Calafat, A, Price, NB, Adatte, T, Sanchez-Vidal, A, Canals, M, Sanchex-Cabeza, JA, Masque, P, Fabres, J
JournalMarine Geology

The Late Holocene fine-grained sedimentation in the deep central Balearic Abyssal Plain, Western Mediterranean Sea, has been studied after the analysis of high quality sediment cores from three multicoring stations, named A, B and C. The coring stations are 25 km apart from each other and form a triangle that is at the greatest distance from the nearest landmasses. The sediments consist of foraminifer-pteropod oozes (layers U1 and U4 from bottom to top), two pteropod oozes (U2 and U5) and a turbidite layer (U3). The same sequence has been identified in the three cores. The turbidite layer U3 that lies on top of U2 (C-14 AMS dated at 1814 cal yrs BP) ranges from 5 to I I cm thick and is clearly distinguished from the dominating hemipelagic sediments by colour variations, higher water content and the absence of planktonic foraminifer shells. Rather uniform values of organic carbon and nitrogen are also characteristic of the U3 turbidite unit, likely because of homogenisation during transport and emplacement. In addition, U3 unit shows higher contents of terrigenous elements such as K and Fe. Otherwise, the presence of zeolites in the turbidite layer supports the hypothesis of the Sardinian continental margin, where pyroclastic deposits are known, as the most likely source area for U3. Our results demonstrate the ability of turbidity currents originating on the margins surrounding the Balearic Abyssal Plain to reach the very centre of the basin during high sea level still stands as the present one. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.