Facts about Marine Sediments Turbidites

Turbidites are sedimentary deposits laid down by underwater landslides. Course sediment is carried far away from shorelines where they are later deposited. As a result these deposits disrupt the natural sedimentary processes that normally exist.  Areas that see most of this activity occurs along fault lines that are tectonically active. Plates pushing against each other cause slopes to give way and collapse creating landslides. The rate and area that these deposits are distributed depends on the slope. The greater the slope, the more material will be deposited.

Turbidites are important in understanding the historical record of a given area. Looking at these deposits geologist get a glimpse into past tectonic activity and how it impacted the terrain. They can look at the deposits to detect rapid mountain building activities. These provide the best evidence scientist have to detect tectonic features in ocean environments. Plates are constantly shifting and the rate and frequency of these deposits helps determine regions most prone to earthquakes. With many people living along coastal regions, understanding the impact of underwater earth quakes and their force can help warn of potential tsunamis possible saving lives.

Economically, turbidities play a valuable role as well. Looking at turbidites is important in oil and gas exploration. They look at these deposits to try and determine what flow occurred and base that information to search for new explorations. Giving enough time these deposits have the ability to produce oil and gas. Therefore when these fields are detected the oil industry will map the areas prior to exploration. As technology improves along with rising demand for oil, it is likely that deep sea recovery will become more valuable. Many minerals such as gold have been found along these areas.

Turbidity can be both high and low density depending on the material. High density turbidity tends to have a greater concentration of sediments in it. These sediments often are found further from the affected area. Low density turbidity has more fine deposits and clay. As a result they are deposited closer to the impact area and do not have as wide range of distribution. Understanding ancient ocean history is important for geologist. One of the best snap shots into the ancient oceans past is turbidites. Looking at them, scientists learn about tectonic activity, mountain building, and rock development. The same forces that exist in the oceans also exist on land. The better scientists understand one, the better understanding they will gain of the other.