Sedimentary dynamics along carbonate slopes (Bahamas archipelago)

Marco Wunsch, Christian Betzler, Sebastian Lindhorst, Thomas Lüudmann, Gregor P Eberli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Hydroacoustic and sedimentological data in the Santaren Channel covering both the leeward slope of Great Bahama Bank and the windward slope of Cay Sal Bank allow new insights into carbonate platform slope sedimentation. The data document the interplay between depositional and erosive processes on both slopes through time and provide information on the current regime and its influence on the slope sedimentary processes. This study emphasizes the diversity and complexity of the slope morphology and the sediment distribution of the youngest high-frequency sequence, which has developed since the last glacial maximum. The processes triggering slope failures and the formation of channels and gullies differ on both slopes. At the leeward slope of the Great Bahama Bank, extensive slope failures occurred primarily during sea-level lowering following an interglacial. These slope failures created a slope morphology that channelizes the exported platform sediments during the subsequent highstand. At the windward slope of Cay Sal Bank, contour currents and the local tectonic regime are responsible for slope failures. During sea-level lowstands, downwelling induces turbidity currents. The interaction of turbidity and contour currents leads to the formation of a system of furrows and slope-parallel sediment ridges. The discovered heterogeneities in slope sedimentation improve the understanding of carbonate slope sedimentation and provide implications for sequence stratigraphic interpretation of carbonate platform slopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-657
Number of pages27
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Bahamas
  • Carbonate platform
  • Carbonate slopes
  • Contour currents
  • Slope failure
  • Slope morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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