Morphological and Stratigraphic Investigation of a Holocene Subaqueous Shelf Fan, North of the İstanbul Strait in the Black Sea

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In 2002, the Bosphorus outlet was mapped using an EM 300 multibeam echo-sounder together with a Chirp sonar system. This survey, carried out on board the Ifremer RV 'Le Suroit' in the frame of the BlaSON project, completes the data previously acquired directly at the mouth of the Bosphorus by Di Iorio et al. (1999) in the frame of a NATO SACLANT Undersea Research project using jointly the NATO RV Alliance, and the Turkish Navy Survey ship 'Çubuklu'. This acoustic imaging has identified a canyon system at the slope and a shallow marine fan, which contains shelf incisions extending the İstanbul Strait incision. Multibeam bathymetry, ultra-high resolution seismic profiling and coring correlations on this subaqueous fan area allowed reconstruction of morphology and patterns of sediment distribution indicative of high energy sediment transport processes. The discovery of a shallow water/shelf type fan directly offshore from the Bosphorus and connected to its outlet is consistent with the theories of sudden discharges of large volumes of water. Age dating obtained at the bottom of this subaqueous shelf fan yielded an age of 6700 yr C14 BP (uncorrected age) for the first marine mollusc encountered at the base. This is in accordance with a last and abrupt reconnection of the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. A detailed morphological map of the shelf and slope along with seismic profile interpretation and core correlation is presented here. A synthesis is proposed to explain the formation of this subaqueous fan and its relationship with the last connection between Black and Marmara seas after the Last Glacial Maximum. This interpretation can be summarized as follows: stage A corresponds to the first erosion surface seen on the shelf related to the Last Glacial Maximum low stand; stage B is the ravine surface onlapping to ca. -30, -40 m; stage C is a second erosional surface related to a sea level fall and eroding most of underlying Unit 1B; and stage D corresponds to the onset of the fan deposit during a period of high water run-off from the Black Sea entering from the Bosphorus. Avulsion branches show that this fan has been active for a long time.


multibeam, high resolution seismic, sea level change, high energy Mediterranean water input, subaqueous fan

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