Depositional processes across the Sinu Accretionary Prism, offshore Colombia

Jamie S Vinnels, Robert W H Butler, William D McCaffrey, Douglas A Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The Pliocene to Recent of the Sinu´ Accretionary Prism, offshore Colombia, features gravity current dominated basins characterised primarily by channel- and sheet-like architectures and those with dominantly hemipelagic fills. The prism is fed by rivers that drain from uplifted older basins and volcanic
Andean terranes to the south and east which source large volumes of sediment to the Colombian Shelf into the Colombian Basin. Some basin fills show evidence of both localised fold-induced sediment failure and regional-scale shelf collapse, both related to the generation and destruction of oversteepened slopes.
Large scale collapses can create new sediment routing pathways and/or local depocentres into which sediment subsequently accumulates. In the Colombian Basin, even relatively distal basins show evidence of channel activity related primarily to the creation of new sediment distribution pathways through
breaches in the substrate barriers between basins. These channels are often orientated parallel to the regional drainage trend, suggesting that regional sediment transport trends can assert themselves relatively early in a basin filling history regardless of the local bathymetric grain. While, at a regional scale, sediment dispersal fairways reflect drainage from the continental shelf to the basin floor, intraslope basins form local bathymetric obstructions that can drive local spatial variations in sediment distribution. Thus, both local and regional length scales of bathymetric control are evident within the intraslope basins of the Sinu´ Accretionary Prism. Although regional dispersal patterns generally become more important in time, individual intraslope basins exhibit more complex filling histories because events such as sill or shelf collapse may serve to disrupt established distribution pathways, initiating repeated episodes of adjustment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794–809
Number of pages16
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


  • turbidites
  • slope canyons
  • Colombia
  • deep-water


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