Kinematics of Mass Transport Deposits revealed by magnetic fabrics

R. Weinberger, T. Levi, G. I. Alsop, S. Marco

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22 Citations (Scopus)
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The internal deformation and movement directions of Mass Transport Deposits (MTDs) are key factors in understanding the kinematics and dynamics of their emplacement. Although these are relatively easy to recover from well-bedded sediments, they are more difficult to deduce from massive beds without visible strain markers. In order to test the applicability of using anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) to determine MTD movement, we compare AMS fabrics, with structural measurements of visible kinematic indicators. Our case study involves the structural analysis of slumped lake sediments extensively exposed in MTDs within the Dead Sea Basin. Structural analyses of MTDs outcropping for >100 km reveals radial transport directions toward the basin depocenter. We show that the AMS fabrics display the same transport directions as inferred from structural analyses. Based on this similarity, we outline a robust procedure to obtain the transport direction of slumped MTDs from AMS fabrics. Variations in the magnetic fabrics and anisotropies in fold-thrust systems within the slumps match the various structural domains. We therefore suggest that magnetic fabrics and anisotropy variations in drill cores may reflect internal deformation within the slumps rather than different slumps. Obtaining magnetic fabrics from MTDs provides a viable way to infer the transport directions and internal deformation of MTDs, and reconstruct the basin depocenter in ancient settings. The present results also have implications beyond the kinematics of MTDs, as their geometry resembles fold thrust systems in other geological settings, scales, and tectonic environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7743-7749
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number15
Early online date11 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF grants No. 1245/11 and 1436/14). We thank the Editor A. V. Newman and the reviewers M. Jackson and B. Almqvist, whose comments and suggestions improved the quality of our manuscript. The laboratory assistance of Ran Issachar and Daniel Zvi is highly acknowledged. All data used in this analysis is presented in Figures 1-4 and Table 1. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to R.W. (


  • Mass Transport Deposits
  • anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility
  • slumping
  • magnetic fabrics
  • tsunamis
  • fold and thrust system


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