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Revista Brasileira de Geofísica
Print version ISSN 0102-261X
KAJI, Aline Olivas et al. Potencial de transporte sedimentar pelas correntes de fundo na região do Canal de Vema (Atlântico Sul). Rev. Bras. Geof. [online]. 2011, vol.29, n.2, pp. 385-400. ISSN 0102-261X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-261X2011000200013.
Vema Channel is an important passageway to the flow of bottom water between the Argentine and the Brazil basins. The channel morphology causes confinement and intensification of bottom currents that affect the ocean floor through sediment resuspension, transport and deposition, consequently playing a fundamental role in the formation of deep ocean deposits. The main goal of this paper is to evaluate the potential for sediment suspension and transport by the local currents through estimates of nearbed shear stresses as well as to assess whether the present dynamic conditions are conducive to the buildup of contouritic deposits in the Vema channel area. The available datasets include (i) current velocity and direction from the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and from moorings deployed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI); (ii) hydrographic parameters from the World Ocean Database 2005; and (iii) the description of bottom sediment characteristics and nephelometric profiles available in publications such as research reports and scientific articles. Calculated shear stresses indicate that local currents would be able to erode and transport medium silt with density similar to that of quartz during up to 87% of the deployment duration, a finding that is reinforced by the nephelometric profiles and by suspended particulate matter concentrations documented by filtered water samples. Channel enlargement downstream leads to loss of transport capacity along the channel. These results suggest that a modern drift deposit may still be under construction downstream the channel mouth wherea contourite fan has intermittently been built since the late Oligocene.
Keywords : Vema Channel; shear velocity; benthic boundary layer; sediment transport.