Abstract

The Murray Canyons are a group of deeply-incised submarine canyons on a steep 400-km section of the continental slope off Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Some of the canyons are amongst the largest on Earth. The canyons, some 80 km long, descend from the shelf edge to abyssal plain 5200 m deep. Sprigg Canyon, the deepest and one of the largest, has walls 2 km high. The thalwegs of the larger canyons are concave in profile, steepest on the upper continental slope (15?-30?), with about 4?gradient on the mid slope, then level out on the lower slope to merge with the 1? continental rise. Between canyons, the continental slope is slightly convex to linear with a gradient of about 5?-6?. Canyon walls commonly slope at 15?-22?. The passive continental margin narrows to 65-km at the Murray Canyons and links the Bight and Otway Basins. WNW-trending Jurassic-Cretaceous rift structures control the irregular shape of the central canyons. At the western end, large box canyons 1 km deep are incised into thick sediments of the Ceduna Sub-basin. Formed by headscarp erosion, some of these canyons have coalesced by canyon capture. The upper parts of most canyons are cut into Cretaceous sediments and in some places are floored by basement rocks. Large holes, spaced about 5 km apart and up to several hundred metres deep, along the outlet channels of the larger and steeper canyons were probably gouged by turbidity currents resulting from major slope failures at the shelf edge. Quaternary turbidites were deposited on the abyssal plain more than 100 km from the foot of slope. Canyon down-cutting was episodic since the latest Cretaceous, with peak activity since the Oligocene due to strong glacioeustatic fluctations and cycles, with canyon development occurring during lowstands and early transgressions when sediment input at the shelf edge was usually highest. The timing of canyon development is linked to major unconformities within adjacent basins, with down-cutting events recorded or inferred during early Paleocene, Middle Eocene, Early Oligocene, Oligocene/Miocene transition (~24 Ma), mid Miocene (~14 Ma) and latest Miocene-Pleistocene. The early phases involved only siliciclastic sediments, while post-early Eocene canyon cutting was dominated by biogenic carbonates generated on the shelf and upper continental slope. The Murray River dumped its sediment load directly into Sprigg Canyon during extreme lowstands of the Late Pleistocene when the Lacepede Shelf was dry land.
Google map showing geographic bounding box with values North bound -35.0 East bound 141.0 West bound 133.0 South bound -40.0
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Product Type/Sub Type

dataset - External Publication - Scientific Journal Paper

Constraints

license
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

IP Owner

Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia)

Author(s)

Date (publication)

2005

Product Type

dataset

Topic Category

geoscientificInformation

Keywords

External Publication
Scientific Journal Paper
marine
marine survey
continental margins
bathymetry
geomorphology
Earth Sciences

Resource Language

English

Resource Character Set

utf8

Resource Security Classification

unclassified

Geographic Extent

North bound
-35.0
East bound
141.0
West bound
133.0
South bound
-40.0

Lineage

Unknown

Digital Transfer Options

onLine

DISTRIBUTION Format

pdf

Distributor

Role
distributor
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address

Metadata File Identifier

a05f7892-c338-7506-e044-00144fdd4fa6

Metadata Standard Name

ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

Metadata Standard Version

1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2004-10-01

METADATA SECURITY CLASSIFICATION

unclassified

Metadata Contact

Role
pointOfContact
Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
City
Canberra
Administrative Area
ACT
Postal Code
2601
Country
Australia
Email Address
Related Links
For information on acquiring this product,
please contact the Geoscience Australia Sales Centre via:

fax:
+61 2 6249 9960; or
phone:
1800 800 173 (within Australia);
 
+61 2 6249 9966 (outside Australia).

Please note that support hours are 9 am to 5 pm weekdays