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Journal Articles Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences Year : 2022

Mass flows, turbidity currents and other hydrodynamic consequences of small and moderate earthquakes in the Sea of Marmara

Abstract

Earthquake-induced submarine slope destabilization is known to cause mass wasting and turbidity currents, but the hydrodynamic processes associated with these events remain poorly understood. Instrumental records are rare, and this notably limits our ability to interpret marine paleoseismological sedimentary records. An instrumented frame comprising a pressure recorder and a Doppler recording current meter deployed at the seafloor in the Sea of Marmara Central Basin recorded the consequences of a Mw 5.8 earthquake occurring on 26 September 2019 and of a Mw 4.7 foreshock 2 d before. The smaller event caused sediment resuspension and weak current (<4 cm s−1) in the water column. The larger event triggered a complex response involving a debris flow and turbidity currents with variable velocities and orientations, which may have resulted from multiple slope failures. A long delay of 10 h is observed between the earthquake and the passing of the strongest turbidity current. The distance traveled by the sediment particles during the event is estimated to have extended over several kilometers, which could account for a local deposit on a sediment fan at the outlet of a canyon (where the instrument was located), but the sedimentation event did not likely cover the whole basin floor. We show that after a moderate earthquake, delayed turbidity current initiation may occur, possibly by ignition of a cloud of resuspended sediment.
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insu-03938054 , version 1 (18-01-2023)

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Pierre Henry, M. Sinan Özeren, Nurettin Yakupoğlu, Ziyadin Çakir, Emmanuel de Saint-Léger, et al.. Mass flows, turbidity currents and other hydrodynamic consequences of small and moderate earthquakes in the Sea of Marmara. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 2022, 22, pp.3939-3956. ⟨10.5194/nhess-22-3939-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03938054⟩
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