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Influence of benthic sediment transport on cold-water coral bank morphology and growth: the example of the Darwin Mounds, north-east Atlantic

Wheeler, Andrew J.; Kozachenko, Maxim; Masson, Doug G.; Huvenne, Veerle A.I.. 2008 Influence of benthic sediment transport on cold-water coral bank morphology and growth: the example of the Darwin Mounds, north-east Atlantic. Sedimentology, 55 (12). 1875-1887. 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2008.00970.x

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Abstract/Summary

The Darwin Mounds are small (up to 70 m in diameter), discrete cold-water coral banks found at c. 950 m water depth in the northern Rockall Trough, north-east Atlantic. Formerly described in terms of their genesis, the Darwin Mounds are re-evaluated here in terms of mound growth processes based on 100 and 410 kHz side-scan sonar data. The side-scan sonar coverage is divided into a series of acoustic facies representing increasing current speed and sediment transport/erosion from south to north: pockmark facies, ‘mounds within depressions’ facies, Darwin Mound facies, stippled seabed facies and sand wave facies. Mound morphometric changes are quantified and show a south-to-north divergence from an inherited morphology, reflecting the outline of coral-colonized fluid escape structures, to developed, downstream elongated, elevated mound forms. It is postulated that increasing current speeds and bedload sand transport favour mound growth and development by a process of enhanced sand sedimentation within mounds due to current deceleration by frictional drag around coral colonies. Comparisons are made with similar growth processes attributed to comparably sized cold-water coral mounds in the Porcupine Seabight, offshore Ireland.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2008.00970.x
ISSN: 0037-0746
Additional Keywords: Cold-water coral, morphometrics, Rockall Trough, sediment transport, sedimentary facies, side-scan sonar
Date made live: 25 Feb 2008 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/150409

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