The Middle Miocene to recent Davis Strait drift complex: implications for Arctic-Atlantic water exchange

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A large-scale contourite drift complex has been recognised on multi-channel 2D reflection seismic data acquired in the south-eastern Davis Strait and adjacent Labrador Sea slope offshore West Greenland between 63°-66°N. Based on well-tie data, the drift complex developed from the Middle Miocene to the Recent. It has been mapped in a wide variety of water depths ranging from about 700 m, at a NNW-ESE-elongated crest located above structural highs in the Davis Strait, to more than 2,000 m beyond the slope to the Labrador Sea. The overall drift geometry has been described by subdivision into two first-order seismic units, enabling the generation of time-isochore maps. The reflection patterns demonstrating current-related deposition are illustrated by seismic examples. The time-isochores of the two first-order seismic units show lateral changes in their depocentres: the lower unit is absent in a zone slightly displaced south-westwards of the present-day crest, indicating changes in the prevailing deepwater current system during the Early Pliocene. The observations can be explained by two alternative palaeoceanographic scenarios: (1) either the present-day oceanographic setting with Arctic-Atlantic water exchange across the Davis Strait was largely established by the mid-Miocene, with only minor adjustments during the Early Pliocene caused by tectonic movements, or (2) it became established during the Early Pliocene as a consequence of enhanced northward flow across the Davis Strait due to lowering of the sill depth.

Sider (fra-til)419-426
Antal sider8
TidsskriftGeo-Marine Letters
Udgave nummer5-6
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2011


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