The geomorphological characteristics and environmental effects of coral reef island landslides were revealed

Recently, the deep-sea geophysical team of the Institute of Deep Ocean Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Hainan Institute of Marine Geology Survey have revealed the geomorphological characteristics and environmental effects of coral reef island landslides. The related research paper was published in Geomorphology. Wang Dawei and Chen Wanli are co-corresponding authors of the paper.

On the deep-water side of the coral reef island, submarine landslides are highly prone to occur, endangering deep-sea engineering and island safety. In the southeast sea area of Sansha Municipal Government, with a water depth of 400 to 1,600 meters, a large submarine landslide, the Yongxing Submarine Landslide, has developed an area of 151.8 square kilometers, with a maximum height of 106 meters and a maximum slope of 58.4 degrees on the side wall, resulting in the loss of 14.3 cubic kilometers of strata.

Overall geomorphological characteristics of submarine landslides. Photo courtesy of the research team

This study comprehensively uses multi-beam, multi-channel seismic and sediment test data to delineate the geomorphological characteristics of the landslide in detail, focuses on the internal microgeomorphological characteristics of the submarine landslide and its impact on the deep water sedimentary environment of the island periphery, establishes the joint evolution model of submarine landslide-canyon, and reveals the formation and evolution process of “submarine dammed lake” that is different from the classical submarine landslide model.

The study showed that submarine landslides blocked submarine canyons, causing lateral migration of canyons. The negative terrain formed by submarine landslides easily captures shallow water gravity flow, forming a dominant channel for gravity flow inside the landslide. (Source: China Science News Zhu Hanbin)

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