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|Title: ||Late Quaternary Progradation and Sand Spillover on the Outer Continental Margin Off Nova Scotia, Southeast Canada|
|Authors: ||Stanley, Daniel J.|
Swift, Donald J. P.
James, Noel P.
Sutton, Robert G.
|Issue Date: ||11-Apr-1972|
|Citation: ||Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences; 8|
|Abstract: ||Three distinct sediment types have prograded seaward from the outer shelf to the slope and rise in the vicinity of Sable Island Bank southeast of Nova Scotia during late Quaternary time. On the slope, the oldest facies recovered in cores is a brown to brick red, irregularly stratified, pebbly-sandy-clayey silt. Locally it is covered by an olive gray, clayey silt with a low sand and pebble content. This more homogenous gray facies displays abundant biogenic structures. A third facies, a thin layer of very fine, gray sand and muddy sand, locally covers brown and olive gray sediments on the slope and upper rise. All three facies contain similar light, heavy, and clay mineral suites.
The regional distribution of these facies has been determined by core traverses normal to the shelf edge, including one passing down the axis of The Gully (largest submarine canyon in the area), and another extending down the dissected slope off Sable Island Bank. The brown, late Pleistocene unit is exposed on the floor of The Gully and on its dissected deep-sea fan; postglacial bottom processes have kept younger sediments from accumulating in these areas. The brown beds also are exposed on the lower slope and rise off Sable Island in areas of slumping or nondeposition. The olive gray facies, late Pleistocene-Holocene in age, occurs primarily on the slope; it is thicker on flanks of slope valleys and thinner or absent on the divides. It is absent on part of the lower slope and upper rise. On the lower rise, tan mud with a coarse fraction rich in Foraminifera and shell debris may be the equivalent of the olive gray slope facies.
These sediments reflect changes in the sedimentary regimen during the post-Wisconsinan transgression. The observed sequence starts with the Wisconsin low stand of the sea when glacial drift, including reddish-brown, fluvioglacial sediments, were deposited over the Nova Scotian Shelf as far as Sable Island Bank. Periglacial outwash spread across the bank and flowed seaward around it. Deposition of the slope and rise brown facies is associated with this period; textural inhomogeneity suggests downslope transport by mass movement. Pebbly lenses resulted, in part, from ice-rafting prevalent during this phase. The contact between brown and the overlying olive gray, clayey silt facies is often abrupt, commonly occurring within several centimeters; this change is correlated with the rise of the late Quaternary sea above the margin of Sable Island Bank.
As the sea transgressed across Sable Island Bank in late glacial time, fines winnowed from fluvioglacial sediment were moved north of the Bank (into the Gully Trough) and seaward onto the slope. Coarse materials no longer reached the slope with former frequency, and the fines were supplied at a markedly lower rate. This decrease in sedimentation rate on the slope coincides with an increase in the organic fraction and bioturbation. Suspended fines were reduced to a gray hue as they passed through the sediment-water interface whose rate of upward growth was now an order of magnitude smaller. The Pleistocene-Holocene boundary of approximately 10,000 years B.P. occurs within the olive gray facies. As sea level attained its near-present position, and the present configuration of bottom currents was established, the lag (modified relict or <em>palimpsest</em>) sands on the Nova Scotian Shelf began a pattern of radial dispersal that may now be observed on Sable Island and associated banks. This bottom current activity has resulted in the development of spillover sands on the upper slope and deposition of thin discontinuous layers (including some turbidites) on the slope and rise and in The Gully Canyon.|
|Appears in Collections:||Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences|
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