A study of the Monterey Canyon and fan was conducted to investigate contemporary sedimentary activity using a camera sled, Alvin dives and Sea-Beam bathymetry. Physical characteristics and plan view morphology of the walls, terraces, thalweg floor and levees of the Monterey Canyon and fan, as well as the gullied and non-gullied regions of the adjacent continental slope have been studied. The canyon floor and fan valley thalweg channel from 2900 to 3500 m exhibited properties indicative of moderate to low energy conditions (weak currents, smoothed sea-bed, deposits of disintegrated kelp, bioturbated mud substrate, fecal pellets, absence of scour). Chemosynthetic communities consisting of clams and a pogonophoran, were found in the fan valley from 3000 to 3600 m. Local areas of rockfalls and slumps from the canyon and fan valley walls were not fresh (sedimented, abundantly colonized by benthic biota). Terraces and levee crests were mud-draped and bedrock exposures on canyon walls were encrusted by benthic organisms. Freshest disturbances were found in gullies on the adjacent continental slope where bedrock was scoured clean of sediment and loose debris. A major submarine slide detached from escarpments on the lower slope, and extends across the fan. The slide surface was mud-draped, hummocky, and contained bedforms with wavelengths up to 150 m and up to 10 m relief. The survey was conducted shortly before the Loma Prieta earthquake (October 17, 1989) that caused substantial ground motion in on-shore regions of Monterey Bay. Any substantial sub-sea disturbances generated by the ensuing earthquake should be discernable from the pre-earthquake state by comparison with the deep-sea photographs and observations.
Jd525Times Cited:19Cited References Count:51