Geomorphometric Descriptions of Archipelagic Aprons off the Southern Flanks of French Frigate Shoals and Necker Island Edifices, Northwest Hawaiian Ridge

TitleGeomorphometric Descriptions of Archipelagic Aprons off the Southern Flanks of French Frigate Shoals and Necker Island Edifices, Northwest Hawaiian Ridge
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year2021
AuthorsGardner, JV, Calder, BR, Armstrong, AA
JournalGSA Bulletin
Date PublishedMarch 1
PublisherGeological Society of America

This study describes the geomorphometries of archipelagic aprons on the southern flanks of the French Frigate Shoals and Necker Island edifices on the central Northwest Hawaiian Ridge that are hotspot volcanoes that have been dormant for 10–11 m.y. The archipelagic aprons are related to erosional headwall scarps and gullies on landslide surfaces but also include downslope gravitational features that include slides, debris avalanches, bedform fields, and outrunners. Some outrunners are located 85 km out onto the deep seafloor in water depths of 4900 m. The bedforms are interpreted to be the result of slow downslope sediment creep rather than products of turbidity currents. The archipelagic aprons appear to differ in origin from those off the Hawaiian Islands. The landslides off the Hawaiian Islands occurred because of oversteepening and loading during the constructive phase of the islands whereas the landslides off the French Frigate Shoals and Necker Island edifices may have resulted from vertical tectonics due to the uplift and relaxation of a peripheral bulge or isolated earthquakes long after the edifices passed beyond the hotspot. The lack of pelagic drape in water depths above the 4600 m depth of the local carbonate compensation depth suggests that the archipelagic apron off the French Frigate Shoals edifice is much younger, perhaps Quaternary in age, than that off the Necker Island edifice, which has a 50 m pelagic drape. The pelagic drape off the Necker Island edifice suggests that the landslides may be as old as 9 Ma. The lack of pelagic drape off the French Frigate Shoals edifice suggests that the most recent landslides are more recent, perhaps even Quaternary in age. The presence of a chutelike feature on the mid-flank of the French Frigate Shoals edifice appears to be the result of rejuvenated volcanism that occurred long after the initial volcanism ceased to build the edifice.

DOI10.1130/B35875.1
Refereed DesignationRefereed