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Bryan Cronin: Deep Marine Research

Since 1990, Bryan Cronin has been focused on outcrop (60%), modern (25%) and subsurface (15%) work on deep-marine sediments. His initial focus was on Deep-water channel architecture, which led to his PhD thesis from the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1994 under the supervision of Professor Rob Kidd (R.I.P.) and Dr Geraint Owen. After work with the Marine Group, he then moved to Moscow State University as a visiting scholar with the UNESCO Marine Geology and Geophysics Unit, sponsored in part by the Royal Society, and started a postdoctoral research position at the University of Aberdeen in 1996, was promoted to Lecturer in 2000 and Senior Lecturer in 2004. He left faculty in 2005 to concentrate on research, education and training, largely independent of universities and funding bodies. He was awarded the Geological Society of London’s Robert Smith Fund Award in 2007, the Bicentenary year of the Society, in recognition of his Oil Industry – University training and research activities.

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Deep-water Canyons

Deep-water canyons may be enormous features on the modern sea floor, located at or near the shelf edge, and sometimes propagating back into the mouths of large fluvial systems. Their origins have been debated for some years. They may be very long-lived features and are usually (though not always) related to drainage of the continent from large river systems. They may initially incise at or below the shelf edge along buried geological structures such as deep-seated faults, and locate themselves along those older lineaments as they grow. Some of the largest canyons are rooted in transform faults. Canyons broaden and deepen due to repeated slope failure, and the passage of gravity-laden currents such as turbidity currents. The older the canyon, the further back onto the shelf, and this in turn aids capture of drifting littoral drift shelf sediment, which in turn causes continued headwards propagation of the canyon.

In this section, the various discussions on origin and evolution, then filling and burial, of deep-water canyons is addressed using a range of modern and ancient deep-water canyons, including: Point Lobos Canyon (Palaeocene, western California); Alikasyasi Canyon (Miocene, eastern Turkey) and modern examples such as Donegal Bay Canyon (modern, NW Ireland), Cap Timiris Canyon (modern, offshore Mauritania), and the Almeria Canyon (modern, SE Spain): though only general features are discussed in this overview section.

Deep-water Canyons

Ancient Deep-water Canyons - Please click to view full report

Modern Deep-water Canyons - Please click to view full report