Sources and modes of terrigenous sediment input to the Chilean continental slope

Jan Berend W. Stuut*, Sabine Kasten, Frank Lamy, Dierk Hebbeln

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Physical, chemical, and mineralogical properties of a set of surface sediment samples collected along the Chilean continental slope (21-44°S) are used to characterise present-day sedimentation patterns and sediment provenance on the Chilean margin. Despite the presence of several exceptional latitudinal gradients in relief, oceanography, tectonic evolution, volcanic activity and onshore geology, the present-day input of terrigenous sediments to the Chilean continental margin appears to be mainly controlled by precipitation gradients, and source-rock composition in the hinterland. General trends in grain size denote a southward decrease in median grain-size of the terrigenous (Corganic, CaCO3 and Opal-free) fraction, which is interpreted as a shift from aeolian to fluvial sedimentation. This interpretation is supported by previous observations of southward increasing bulk sedimentation rates. North-south trends in sediment bulk chemistry are best recognised in the iron (Fe) and titanium (Ti) vs. potassium (K) and aluminium (Al) ratios of the sediments that most likely reflect the contribution of source rocks from the Andean volcanic arc. These ratios are high in the northernmost part, abruptly decrease at ∼25°S, and then more or less constantly increase southwards to a maximum at ∼40°S.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalQuaternary International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007


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