A geophysical investigation of seafloor morphology and sediment dynamics on the Crimean Shelf: Implications on the early Holocene Black Sea inundation

Daniel P Whitesell, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The transition of the Black Sea basin, from a lacustrine to a marine environment, has been accredited to either a catastrophic or an oscillatory inundation of Mediterranean seawater. The oscillatory interpretation is supported by seismic data that exhibits multiple transgression and regression events and a persistent outflow during the Holocene. Evidence supporting a catastrophic event is interpreted from a uniform, Holocene mud drape, truncated regression and preserved paleoshorelines seen in seismic data. We present the results of two geophysical surveys conducted along the Crimean Shelf in the northern Black Sea in 2006 and 2008, aboard the R/V Endeavor and the USNS Pathfinder. Using our seismic data processing model as a template, the data from these surveys were compared to previous research to further investigate the early Holocene flood and Crimean shelf sediment dynamics. Features such as a ubiquitous mud drape layer, paleoriver channels, truncated regression, bedforms and hummocks were identified in our seismic sections. Some of these features correspond to previous seismic data supporting the catastrophic model but no evidence of features supporting an oscillatory flood was recognized in either survey. Supplemental side-scan imagery and bathymetry data revealed a dynamic shelf including mass slumping, a hummocky channel system and shelf failure. While initial seismic evidence appears to indicate a catastrophic inundation, the presence of large-scale, active sediment transport, may signify that further features supporting either model no longer exist on the Crimean shelf. ^

Subject Area

Geophysics|Geomorphology|Marine Geology

Recommended Citation

Daniel P Whitesell, "A geophysical investigation of seafloor morphology and sediment dynamics on the Crimean Shelf: Implications on the early Holocene Black Sea inundation" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1531040.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI1531040

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