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ABSTRACT: GLORIA Imagery Links Sedimentation in Aleutian Trench to Yakutat Margin via Surveyor Channel

Paul R. Carlson, Terry R. Bruns, Quentin J. Huggett, Dennis M. Mann, Andrew J. Stevenson

GLORIA side-scan sonar imagery shows that the continental slope developing along the active margin of the Gulf of Alaska is devoid of large submarine canyons, in spite of the presence of large glacially formed sea valleys that cross the continental shelf. In the western and northern Gulf, discontinuous, actively growing deformation structures disrupt or divert the downslope transport of sediment into the Aleutian Trench. To the east of Middleton Island, the slope is intensively gullied and incised only by relatively small canyons.

At the base of the gullied slope between Pamplona Spur and Alsek Valley, numerous small slope gullies coalesce into three turbidity current channels that merge to form the Surveyor deep-sea channel. About 350 km from the margin, the channel crosses the structural barrier formed by the Kodiak-Bowie Seamount chain and heads south for another 150 km where it bends northerly, perhaps influenced by the oceanic basement relief of the Patton Seamounts. The channel, now up to 5 km wide and deeply entrenched to 450 m, continues northerly for 200 km where it intercepts the Aleutian Trench, some 700 km from the Yakutat margin. South of Surveyor Channel, GLORIA imagery revealed evidence of another older channel. The older channel meanders through a gap in the seamount chain and eventually bends n rthwesterly.

This now inactive, largely buried channel may have carried turbidity currents to the Aleutian Trench concurrent with the active Surveyor Channel.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990