Sediment dynamics in the subaquatic channel of the Rhone delta (Lake Geneva, France/Switzerland)

Corella, J. P.; Arantegui, A.; Loizeau, J. L.; DelSontro, T.; le Dantec, N.; Stark, N.; Anselmetti, Flavio; Girardclos, S. (2014). Sediment dynamics in the subaquatic channel of the Rhone delta (Lake Geneva, France/Switzerland). Aquatic Sciences, 76(Suppl. 1), pp. 73-87. Springer 10.1007/s00027-013-0309-4

CorellaAS.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (3MB) | Preview

bstract With its smaller size, well-known boundary conditions, and the availability of detailed bathymetric data, Lake Geneva’s subaquatic canyon in the Rhone Delta is an excellent analogue to understand sedimentary pro- cesses in deep-water submarine channels. A multidisciplinary research effort was undertaken to unravel the sediment dynamics in the active canyon. This approach included innovative coring using the Russian MIR sub- mersibles, in situ geotechnical tests, and geophysical, sedimentological, geochemical and radiometric analysis techniques. The canyon floor/levee complex is character- ized by a classic turbiditic system with frequent spillover events. Sedimentary evolution in the active canyon is controlled by a complex interplay between erosion and sedimentation processes. In situ profiling of sediment strength in the upper layer was tested using a dynamic penetrometer and suggests that erosion is the governing mechanism in the proximal canyon floor while sedimen- tation dominates in the levee structure. Sedimentation rates progressively decrease down-channel along the levee structure, with accumulation exceeding 2.6 cm/year in the proximal levee. A decrease in the frequency of turbidites upwards along the canyon wall suggests a progressive confinement of the flow through time. The multi-proxy methodology has also enabled a qualitative slope-stability assessment in the levee structure. The rapid sediment loading, slope undercutting and over-steepening, and increased pore pressure due to high methane concentrations hint at a potential instability of the proximal levees. Fur- thermore, discrete sandy intervals show very high methane concentrations and low shear strength and thus could cor- respond to potentially weak layers prone to scarp failures.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Quaternary Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Anselmetti, Flavio


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Flavio Anselmetti

Date Deposited:

10 Sep 2014 14:45

Last Modified:

28 Apr 2022 14:28

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback