A modern analog for carbonate source-to-sink sedimentary systems: the Glorieuses archipelago and adjacent basin (SW Indian Ocean)
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
This study presents the geomorphological and sedimentological analysis of a modern carbonate source-to-sink system located north of Madagascar (SW Indian Ocean). The sedimentary system is composed of an isolated carbonate platform sited on top of a seamount rising steeply from the seabed located at 3000 m water depth. The slope of the seamount is incised by canyons, and meandering channels occur above lobbed sedimentary bodies at the foot of the slope. The dataset consists of dredges, sediment piston cores, swath bathymetry and seismic (sparker and 2D high-resolution) lines collected from inner platform (less than 5 m deep) to the adjacent deep sedimentary basin. Particle size analysis and composition of carbonate grains are used to characterize the distribution and heterogeneity of sands accumulated on the archipelago. Main results show that composition of carbonate sediments is dominated by segments of Halimeda, large benthic foraminifera, coral debris, molluscs, echinoderms, bryozoans and sponges. According to the shape and the position of sandwaves and intertidal sandbars developed in the back-barrier reef, the present organization of these well-sorted fine-sand accumulations appears to be strongly influenced by flood tidal currents. Seismic lines acquired from semi-enclosed to open lagoon demonstrate that most of the sediment is exported and accumulated along the leeward margin of the platform, which is connected to a canyon network incising the outer slope. Following the concept of highstand shedding of carbonate platforms (Schlager et al., 1994), excess sediment is exported by plumes and gravity flows to the adjacent deep sea where it feeds a carbonate deep-sea fan. Combined observations from platform to basin allow to explain how the Glorieuses carbonate source to sink system has evolved under the influence of climate and of relative sea-level changes since the last interglacial.