High-resolution seismic stratigraphy and morphology of the Scan Basin contourite fan, southern Scotia Sea, Antarctica

Marga García, Francisco J. Lobo, Andrés Maldonado, F. Javier Hernández-Molina, Fernando Bohoyo, Lara F. Perez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Scan Basin is the easternmost of the southern Scotia Sea basins. It is located in a complex tectonic setting, north of the boundary between the Scotia and Antarctic plates. In addition, Scan Basin is directly to the north of Bruce Passage, which connects the Scotia and Weddell seas through the northward overflow of the Weddell Sea Deep Water (WSDW). Scan Basin has been described as an isolated small oceanic basin, where the fan-shaped abyssal plain is bounded by Bruce and Discovery banks. Sedimentary processes involved in the development of the Scan Basin sediment record during the late Pliocene-Quaternary are discussed here, through the examination of the distribution and morphological and acoustic characteristics of erosional, depositional, gravitational, fluid-escape, and volcanic features in correlation to the geological and oceanographic setting. The abyssal plain reflects the action of high-energy bottom-current circulation along its western side and lower-energy bottom currents along the eastern side. In contrast, Discovery Bank reflects a highly dynamic interplay between bottom-current activity, mass-wasting processes, and processes linked to the water mass interfaces. Variations in the abyssal plain stratigraphy are associated with events that may be related to climate changes since the late Miocene, involving increased bottom-current circulation and variations in the interaction between the WSDW and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The Scan Basin sector is one example of a contourite depositional system developed downstream of a deep gateway exit, and its major depositional characteristics allow its classification as a contourite fan. These new findings contribute to clarifying the development of contourite fans in regions of significant bottom-water interchange.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Geology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Bottom-current circulation
  • Contourite fan
  • Scotia Sea
  • Seafloor morphology
  • Seismic stratigraphy

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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