Sedimentary processes in the head of the Cabo Polonio mega slide canyon (Southwestern Atlantic Margin off Uruguay).


  • Paula Franco-Fraguas Universidad de la República, Facultad de Ciencias - Sección Oceanología. Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.
  • Leticia Burone Universidad de la República, Facultad de Ciencias - Sección Oceanología. Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.
  • Cesar Goso Universidad de la República, Facultad de Ciencias – Departamento de Geología. Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.
  • Fabricio Scarabino Universidad de la República, Centro Universitario Regional Este-CURE-Sede Rocha. Ruta 9 esq. Ruta 15, Rocha, Uruguay and Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Rossana Muzio Universidad de la República, Facultad de Ciencias – Departamento de Geología. Iguá 4225, Montevideo 11400, Uruguay.
  • Alvar Carranza Universidad de la República, Centro Universitario Regional Este-CURE-Sede Maldonado, Uruguay and Área Biodiversidad y Conservación, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Leonardo Ortega Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos, Ministerio de Ganadería Agricultura y Pesca. Constituyente 1497, Montevideo Uruguay.
  • Araceli Muñoz TRAGSA-Secretaria General del Mar. Núñez de Balboa, 116, 28006 Madrid, Spain.
  • Michel Mahiques Instituto Oceanográfico da Universidade de São Paulo. Praça do Oceanográfico, 191, 05508-120 São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Instituto de Energia e Ambiente, Universidade de São Paulo. Avenida Professor Luciano Gualberto, 1289, 05508-010 São Paulo, Brazil.

Palabras clave:

Mega Slide; Canyon head; Retrogressive processes; Contouritic deposits Gravel; Southwestern Atlantic Margin.


The Southwestern Atlantic margin is characterized by several canyon systems incised on a huge contourite depositional system associated with the interaction of strong Antarctic water masses with the seafloor. So far, however, only one mega slide canyon (Cabo Polonio) has been described in the Uruguayan continental slope. In this work, sedimentary processes dominating the head of this mega slide canyon are described and interpreted based on the analysis of the composition (texture and fossils) and distribution of widespread gravel along its head and thalweg. This information is integrated with acoustic (multibeam and seismic) and hydrological data. Results suggest that the evolution of the head of the canyon presents retrogressive erosion related to debris and turbidity flows. This erosion is ongoing and/or has been active during the recent past and contourite deposits are involved in headwall erosion. The pathway of gravel along the canyon and the thalweg was reconstructed. The strong flow of the South Atlantic Central Water, and its interaction with the Antarctic Intermediate Water, dominates the modern hydrology, promoting highly energetic conditions enhancing headwall erosion. This work contributes to a better understanding of the sedimentary processes connected to an mega slide canyon in the upper slope off Uruguay and located in the northernmost distribution of the South Atlantic Contourite Depositional System.


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Cómo citar

Franco-Fraguas, P., Burone, L. ., Goso, C. ., Scarabino, F. ., Muzio, R. ., Carranza, A. ., Ortega, L. ., Muñoz, A. ., & Mahiques, M. . (2021). Sedimentary processes in the head of the Cabo Polonio mega slide canyon (Southwestern Atlantic Margin off Uruguay). Latin American Journal of Sedimentology and Basin Analysis, 24(1), 31-44. Recuperado a partir de



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