Origin of continental margin morphology: submarine-slide or downslope current-controlled bedforms, a rock magnetic approach


Morphological features observed in both swath bathymetry and seismic reflection data are not unique, which introduces uncertainty as to their origin. The origin of features observed in the Humboldt Slide has generated much controversy because the same features have been interpreted as a submarine failure deposit versus current-controlled sediment waves. It is important to resolve this controversy because similar structures are observed on many continental margins and the origin of these features needs to be understood. Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) measurements on sediment samples acquired from the Humboldt Slide reveal that the top ∼ 8 m have not experienced post-depositional deformation. This suggests that these features are formed by primary deposition associated with downslope currents. Using the same AMS technique on a core acquired north of the Humboldt Slide in a region with no geophysical evidence for post-depositional deformation, we were able to identify a ∼ 1 m thick deposit that appears to be a small slump.

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Marine Geology


240, Issues 1-4



Publisher Place

New York, NY, USA



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article


Copyright © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.