Drowned shelf-edge deltas, barrier islands and related features along the outer continental shelf north of the head of De Soto Canyon, NE Gulf of Mexico

Academic Article


  • Four drowned shelf-edge delta complexes, two drowned shelf deltas, three drowned barrier islands, large areas of “hardground”, and fields of bedforms on the mid and outer continental shelf and uppermost slope north of the head of De Soto Canyon, NE Gulf of Mexico were mapped with high-resolution multibeam echosounder. Deltas formed not during the last eustatic low stand, but during one or more interstadials when eustatic sea levels were only 60 to 80 m below present sea level. The barrier islands and deltas must have been cemented prior to rapid falls of eustatic sea level that occurred during global glaciations. Cementation is necessary to have preserved the barrier islands from erosion and subsequent destruction by the rapid sea-level rise during the last deglaciation. The preservation of the relict bathymetry is so good that features that superficially resemble trough blowouts are found in association with one of the relict barrier islands. Asymmetric bedforms on the midshelf in water depths of 50 to 60 m indicate transport directions to the SW but asymmetric bedforms in water depths of the upper slope between 100 and 120 m on the S and SE flanks of the drowned shelf-edge deltas indicate a different current direction, a separate flow that is a continuation of a SW-flowing current that was previously found on the upper slope off NW Florida.
  • Authors

  • Hughes Clarke, John
  • Gardner, JV
  • Calder, Brian
  • Clarke, JE Hughes
  • Mayer, Larry
  • Elston, G
  • Rzhanov, Y
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 15, 2007
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • Geomorphology  Journal
  • Keywords

  • De Soto Canyon
  • acoustic backscatter
  • barrier islands
  • bathymetry
  • bedforms
  • multibeam
  • sea level
  • shelf-edge deltas
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 370
  • End Page

  • 390
  • Volume

  • 89
  • Issue

  • 3-4