Two Quaternary plastered contourite drifts, with terraced and low-mounded morphologies, make up the continental slope and base-of-slope in the northwestern Alboran Sea, respectively, between the Guadiaro and Baños turbidite systems, close to the Strait of Gibraltar. Considering their significant lateral extent, the link between the contourite drift deposits and landslides may be particularly important for hazard assessment. The physical properties, composition and geometry of contourite drifts have been proposed as key factors in slope stability, although this relationship still needs to be better constrained. In this work, new in-situ geotechnical data (cone penetration tests; CPTu) has been combined with morphostratigraphic, sedimentological, and (laboratory) geotechnical properties to determine the stability of the Guadiaro-Baños drifts. For the depositional domains of both drifts, the resulting sedimentary and geotechnical model describes low-plasticity granular and silty sands on the erosive terraced domain that evolve seawards to silty and silty-clay deposits with a higher plasticity and uniform geomechanical properties. For the shallower coarse-grained contourite sediments, the cohesion (c') and internal friction angle (ϕ') values are 0–9 kPa and 46–30°, respectively, whereas for the distal fine contourites the undrained shear strength gradient (∇Su) is 2 kPa/m. These properties allow us to establish high factors of safety for all the scenarios considered, including seismic loading. Slope failure may be triggered in the unlikely event that there is seismic acceleration of PGA > 0.19, although no potential glide planes have been observed within the first 20 m below the seafloor. This suggests that the contourite drifts studied tend to resist failure better than others with similar sedimentary characteristics. The interplay of several processes is proposed to explain the enhanced undrained shear strength: 1) the geometry of the drifts, defined by an upper contouritic terrace and lower low-mounded shapes; 2) recurrent low-intensity earthquakes with insufficient energy to trigger landslides, favouring increased strength due to dynamic compaction; and 3) cyclic loading induced by solitons/internal waves acting on the sediment.

The Guadiaro-Baños contourite drifts (SW Mediterranean). A geotechnical approach to stability analysis / Yenes, M.; Casas, D.; Nespereira, J.; Lopez-Gonzalez, N.; Casalbore, D.; Monterrubio, S.; Alonso, B.; Ercilla, G.; Juan, C.; Barcenas, P.; Palomino, D.; Mata, P.; Martinez-Diaz, P.; Perez, N.; Vazquez, J. T.; Estrada, F.; Azpiroz-Zabala, M.; Teixeira, M.. - In: MARINE GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0025-3227. - 437:(2021). [10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106505]

The Guadiaro-Baños contourite drifts (SW Mediterranean). A geotechnical approach to stability analysis

Casalbore D.;
2021

Abstract

Two Quaternary plastered contourite drifts, with terraced and low-mounded morphologies, make up the continental slope and base-of-slope in the northwestern Alboran Sea, respectively, between the Guadiaro and Baños turbidite systems, close to the Strait of Gibraltar. Considering their significant lateral extent, the link between the contourite drift deposits and landslides may be particularly important for hazard assessment. The physical properties, composition and geometry of contourite drifts have been proposed as key factors in slope stability, although this relationship still needs to be better constrained. In this work, new in-situ geotechnical data (cone penetration tests; CPTu) has been combined with morphostratigraphic, sedimentological, and (laboratory) geotechnical properties to determine the stability of the Guadiaro-Baños drifts. For the depositional domains of both drifts, the resulting sedimentary and geotechnical model describes low-plasticity granular and silty sands on the erosive terraced domain that evolve seawards to silty and silty-clay deposits with a higher plasticity and uniform geomechanical properties. For the shallower coarse-grained contourite sediments, the cohesion (c') and internal friction angle (ϕ') values are 0–9 kPa and 46–30°, respectively, whereas for the distal fine contourites the undrained shear strength gradient (∇Su) is 2 kPa/m. These properties allow us to establish high factors of safety for all the scenarios considered, including seismic loading. Slope failure may be triggered in the unlikely event that there is seismic acceleration of PGA > 0.19, although no potential glide planes have been observed within the first 20 m below the seafloor. This suggests that the contourite drifts studied tend to resist failure better than others with similar sedimentary characteristics. The interplay of several processes is proposed to explain the enhanced undrained shear strength: 1) the geometry of the drifts, defined by an upper contouritic terrace and lower low-mounded shapes; 2) recurrent low-intensity earthquakes with insufficient energy to trigger landslides, favouring increased strength due to dynamic compaction; and 3) cyclic loading induced by solitons/internal waves acting on the sediment.
2021
Alboran Sea; contourite drift; Factor of safety (FoS); In-situ geotechnical tests (CPTu); sedimentology; submarine landslide
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
The Guadiaro-Baños contourite drifts (SW Mediterranean). A geotechnical approach to stability analysis / Yenes, M.; Casas, D.; Nespereira, J.; Lopez-Gonzalez, N.; Casalbore, D.; Monterrubio, S.; Alonso, B.; Ercilla, G.; Juan, C.; Barcenas, P.; Palomino, D.; Mata, P.; Martinez-Diaz, P.; Perez, N.; Vazquez, J. T.; Estrada, F.; Azpiroz-Zabala, M.; Teixeira, M.. - In: MARINE GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0025-3227. - 437:(2021). [10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106505]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1554861
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