Black Sea submarine valleys – patterns, systems, networks
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The article presents a detailed analysis of the underwater morphology of the entire Black Sea basin beyond the shelf break. The focus is on submarine valley systems on continental slope and rise zones, and partially in the abyssal plain area. The present research is among the very few studies that have undertaken a morphological analysis on a regional scale, for an entire marine basin. This achievement was possible by using the publicly available EMODnet bathymetric map of the Black Sea. The Black Sea submarine valleys networks are presented in a map-sketch. It includes 25 valley systems, 5 groups of simple first order channels, and other number of simple, not associated channels. The 25 valley systems are adding up more than 110 main channels and tributaries. Morphological description and analysis of each of the mapped systems is given – shape and plan view morphology, dimensions (length and surface) and slope gradient. Some considerations about the amount of sediments supplied by the valleys from the shelf to the basin floor, forming the deep-sea fans, are presented.
For a more detailed and precise image of the Black Sea network of submarine valleys additional work would be necessary to cover the entire basin with a minimum standard network of modern bathymetric mapping and of high resolution seismic survey lines. To take into account the composition and geological structure of different sectors, as factors that influence significantly the morphology of the seabed, would be also particularly useful.