Intense turbidity currents occur in the Malaylay Submarine Canyon off the northern coast of Mindoro Island in the Philippines. They start in very shallow waters at the shelf break and reach deeper waters where a gas pipeline is located. The pipeline was displaced by a turbidity current in 2006 and its rock berm damaged by another 10 years later. Here we propose that they are triggered near the mouth of the Malaylay and Baco rivers by direct sediment resuspension in the shallow shelf and transport to the canyon heads by typhoon-induced waves and currents. We show these rivers are unlikely to generate hyperpycnal flows and trigger turbidity currents by themselves. Characteristic signatures of turbidity currents, in the form of bed shear stress obtained by numerical simulations, match observed erosion/deposition and rock berm damage patterns recorded by repeat bathymetric surveys before and after typhoon Nock-ten in December 2016. Our analysis predicts a larger turbidity current triggered by typhoon Durian in 2006; and reveals the reason for the lack of any significant turbidity current associated with typhoon Melor in December 2015. Key factors to assess turbidity current initiation are typhoon proximity, strength, and synchronicity of typhoon induced waves and currents. Using data from a 66-year hindcast we estimate a ~8-year return period of typhoons with capacity to trigger large turbidity currents.
|Titolo:||How typhoons trigger turbidity currents in submarine canyons|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|