Hans-Ulrich Schwarz:

Subaqueous Slope Failures, Experiments and modern Occurrences

1982. 116 pages, 44 figures, 7 tables, 16x24cm, 320 g
Language: English

(Contributions to Sedimentary Geology, Volume 11)

ISBN 978-3-510-57011-9, paperback, price: 38.00 €

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A broad variety of deformational structures in ancient marine deposits and extensive distribution of slide structures over almost all ocean slopes have been observed. Gigantic volume and transport distances of suddenly displaced masses have been found in present ocean areas. Their economic value in ancient deposits, e.g. because of their potential for creating sedimentary hydrocarbon traps, and damages caused while using the sea bottom for technical programs make subaqueous slope failures as fascinating phenomena for research.

In spite of abundant reports on gravitational mass movement occurrences and thorough check of published data only a few general aspects can be deduced from this compilation. Therefore, an experimental program using artificially deposited clayey sediments was performed in a tiltable tank, in order to test three basic models of subaqueous slope formation and destruction.

Structural analysis has been carried out of single and multiple slope failure processes recorded on film , of experimental and natural slide structures, and of tectonic deformation patterns allowing discrimination of characteristic deformation cycles. Each is composed of the same sequence of structural features or at least parts of such a sequence.

The laboratory shear tests and investigations of natural slump occurrences support the theory that the predeformational development of a sediment considerably determines its behaviour during later deformation.

Contents top ↑

Summary 1
1. Introduction 2
2. Classification and definitions 5
3. Modern slope failures 6
3.1 Occurrences 6
3.2 Environmental setting and survey data 7
3.3 Influence of soil mechanical parameters on slope stability 18
3.4 General boundary conditions 22
3.5 Comparative discussion of slope failure features 26
4. Slope failure experiments 29
4.1 Development of experimental methods in sedimentology 29
4.2 Equipment, method, and concept 30
4.3 Description of the experiments 47
4. 3 .1 Escarpment experiment 47
4.3.2 Slope experiment 51
4.3.3 Tilt experiments 53
4.4 Deformational processes and structures 56
4.4.1 Creep 56
4.4.2 Feather joint systems 59
4.4.3 Micro-fault systems 59
4.4.4 Sediment flow 62
4.4.5 Slump and slide phenomena 62 Description of a uniform slide process 65 Description of slide sequences 70 Analysis of postkinematic structures 73
5. Discussion and conclusions 80
5.1 Restrictions and problems of the experimental method 80
5.2 Experimental results 80
5.3 Internal organisation of slide structures and time sequence 85
5.4 Structural transformation model of gravitational mass movements
of cohesive sediments 87
Acknowledgements 91
References 91
Appendix List of modern slope failure occurrences (Table 8) 105