Multi-beam, sub-bottom and multichannel seismic data acquired from the western Nigerian continental margin are analysed and interpreted to examine the architectural characteristics of the lower parts of the submarine canyons on the margin. The presence of four canyons: Avon, Mahin, Benin, and Escravos, are confirmed from the multi-beam data map and identified as cutting across the shelf and slope areas, with morphological features ranging from axial channels, moderate to high sinuosity indices, scarps, terraces and nickpoints which are interpreted as resulting from erosional and depositional activities within and around the canyons. The Avon Canyon, in particular, is characterised by various branches and sub-branches with complex morphologies. The canyons are mostly U-shaped in these lower parts with occasional V-shapes down their courses. Their typical orientation is NE–SW. Sedimentary processes are proposed as being a major controlling factor in these canyons. Sediments appear to have been discharged directly into the canyons by rivers during the late Quaternary low sea level which allows river mouths to extend as far as the shelf edge. The current sediment supply is still primarily sourced from these rivers in the case of the Benin and Escravos Canyons, but indirectly in the case of the Avon and Mahin Canyons where the rivers discharge sediments into the lagoons and the lagoons bring the sediments on to the continental shelf before they are dispersed into the canyon heads. Ancient canyons that have long been buried underneath the Avon Canyon are identified in the multichannel seismic profile across the head of the Avon Canyon, while a number of normal faults around the walls of the Avon and Mahin Canyons are observed in the selected sub-bottom profiles. The occurrence of these faults, especially in the irregular portions of the canyon walls, suggests that they also have some effect on the canyon architecture. The formation of the canyons is attributed to the exposure of the upper marginal area to incisions from erosion during the sea level lowstand during the glacial period. The incisions are widened and lengthened by contouric currents, turbidity currents and slope failures resulting in the canyons.
Rasheed Olayinka JIMOH, Yong TANG, Jiabiao LI, Larry Folajimi AWOSIKA, He LI, Edward Akintoye AKINNIGBAGE, Adedayo Oluwaseun ADELEYE. The architecture of the lower parts of submarine canyons on the western Nigerian continental margin[J]. ACTA OCEANOLOGICA SINICA, 2018, 37(7): 28-40. doi: 10.1007/s13131-018-1242-0.