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Journal Articles Progress in Oceanography Year : 2002

Present day sedimentary processes on the northern Iberian shelf

J. M. A. Dias
  • Function : Author
R. Gonzalez
  • Function : Author
M. F. Araújo
  • Function : Author
T. Drago
  • Function : Author
C. Garcia
  • Function : Author
A. Oliveira
  • Function : Author
A. Rodrigues
  • Function : Author
J. Vitorino
  • Function : Author


The Galicia-Minho Shelf features two large mud patches, the Douro and the Galicia Mud patches. These are recent sediment bodies that have accumulated under a combination of conditions including: (1) abundant supplies of sediment; (2) morphological barriers that act as sediment traps; and (3) hydrographic conditions that favour the accumulation of fine sediment in these sinks. This paper describes the mechanisms controlling the deposition of the fine-grained sediment depositions and the processes that result in resuspension processes on the Galicia-Minho Shelf. Fine-grained sediments are provided from discharges from the river basins on the southern sector of the shelf, mainly the Douro and Minho rivers. Sediments are exported from river estuaries onto the shelf during episodic flood events. In contrast, most of the sediments originating from the Galician hinterland fail to contribute significantly to sedimentation on the shelf, because they are retained in the Galician Rías, which function as sediment traps. Sediments deposited on the shelf are frequently remobilized, particularly during southwesterly storms that coincide with downwelling conditions. Once in suspension the fine-grained sediments are transported northwards by the poleward flowing bottom currents and are eventually deposited on the Douro and Galicia Mud patches after a series of resuspension events. The locations of the two mud patches are strongly influenced by the shelf morphology. Fines already deposited on the mud patches are occasionally reintroduced into the system by large storm events. Some material from the Douro Mud patch and adjacent areas is re-deposited in the Galicia Mud patch. It is probable that sediments re-suspended from the Galicia Mud patch are carried off the shelf when storm events coincide with downwelling conditions.

Dates and versions

insu-03619002 , version 1 (24-03-2022)



J. M. A. Dias, J. M. Jouanneau, R. Gonzalez, M. F. Araújo, T. Drago, et al.. Present day sedimentary processes on the northern Iberian shelf. Progress in Oceanography, 2002, 52, pp.249-259. ⟨10.1016/S0079-6611(02)00009-5⟩. ⟨insu-03619002⟩


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