Sources, dispersal, and contributions of fine-grained terrigenous sediments on the Oregon and Washington continental slope Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2227ms228

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  • Holocene hemipelagic deposition of terrigenous silts and clays dominates sedimentation on most of the Oregon and Washington continental slope. The sources of these sediments, the mechanisms causing sediment dispersal, and the relative contributions of the various continental sources to the marine deposits have been investigated using quantitative mineral and geochemical data for the 2-20 μm and the <2 μm size fractions. In the 2-20 μm size fraction, material derived from the Klamath Mountains and the California and Washington Coast Ranges contains chlorite and illite, but only Klamath material contains hornblende. Columbia River material lacks chlorite, and the Oregon Coast Range source is dominated by smectite. In the <2 μm fraction, source area compositions are less distinctive due to the ubiquity of smectite, but the northern and southern sources again contain both chlorite and illite. Regional and local mineralogic and textural variations in the fluvial sediments reflect geologic and geographic changes between drainage basins. Amorphous material is a minor component in the 2-20 μm fraction of the fluvial sediments, but may form 25-50% of the <2 μm fraction in some source areas. Sediments derived from all source areas are transported north and northwestward across the margin, either by a poleward-flowing undercurrent along the slope, by wind-driven surface currents on the shelf and associated turbid layers on the slope, or by a combination of the two processes. Columbia River <2 μm material may also be carried southward along the shelf and upper slope by summer surface currents. The poleward undercurrent (an eastern boundary undercurrent) appears to have limited sedimentological significance when compared to the role of the western boundary undercurrent in sediment transport and deposition on the continental slope and rise of the eastern United States. Linear programming has been applied successfully to estimate source area contributions to the 2-20 μm marine sediments. The influence of each source is largest in proximal environments, and the contribution estimates indicate that material derived from each source area is transported northward along the margin. Similar estimates for the <2 μm material are considered unreliable because of internal inconsistencies and the uniform nature of the <2 μm compositions used in the modelling. The contributions have been used to calculate a sediment budget for the 2-20 μm fraction. This budget indicates that the mass accumulating on the entire slope within the study area contains 47% Columbia River, 32% Klamath Mountain, and 21% California Coast Range material in the 2-20 μm fraction, and demonstrates the importance of multiple sediment sources and sediment mixing in the formation of hemipelagic sediments on the continental margin.
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