Deep-water geomorphology of the glaciated Irish margin from high-resolution marine geophysical data: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 15, EGU2013-379, 2013

Fabio Sacchetti, S. Benetti, Aggeliki Georgiopoulou, Patrick M Shannon, Brian O'Reilly, P Dunlop, Rory Quinn, Colm O' Cofaigh

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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The evolution of the northwest European continental margin was strongly affected by Pleistocene glaciations, particularly
where ice sheets extended onto the continental shelf and transferred glaciogenic sediment onto the slope,
contributing to the formation of canyon systems, submarine fans and slides. Research conducted on the BritishIrish
Ice Sheet (BIIS) strongly indicates that its western margin extended offshore onto the continental shelf around
Ireland and Britain. However, until recently the study of submarine canyons and other slope and basin floor features
has been limited by the low resolution of the available data. Recent advances in multibeam data processing
and visualisation have yielded enhanced images. This study integrates high-resolution multibeam bathymetry and
backscatter data with TOBI side-scan sonar data, resulting in a detailed geomorphological interpretation of the
northwest Irish continental margin and an improved understanding of the effects of glacial forcing on the morphology
and sediment architecture of the region. Correlation of the position and dimensions of glacial moraines on
the continental shelf with the level of canyon evolution suggests that the sediment and meltwater delivered by the
BIIS played a fundamental role in shaping the margin, including the upslope development of some of the canyon
systems. Glacial influence is also suggested by the variable extent of the sedimentary lobes associated with the
canyons which also provides an indirect measurement of the amount of glaciogenic sediment delivered by the ice
sheet into the Rockall Trough during the last glacial maximum. The various slope styles observed on the Irish
margin also represent snapshots of the progressive stages of slope development for a glacially-influenced passive
margin and may provide a predictive model for the evolution of other margins
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Apr 2013
EventEuropean Geosciences Union General Assembly - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 7 Apr 201312 Apr 2013


ConferenceEuropean Geosciences Union General Assembly
Abbreviated titleEGU
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Poster presentation


  • geomorphology
  • Marine
  • geophysical
  • British Irish Ice Sheet


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