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Advances in Earth Science  2021, Vol. 36 Issue (7): 763-772    DOI: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2021.070
Review and Prospect of the Geomorphology of Sediment Creep in Sea Areas
Xiaochuan WU1,2(),Liming OUYANG1,2,Xiaozhong GUO1,2,Yanling HUANG1,2,Zhenhua Huang1,2,Wei Li3
1.National Joint Local Engineering Research Center for Shale Gas Exploration and Development,Chongqing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources,Chongqing 401120,China
2.Key Laboratory of Shale Gas Exploration,Ministry of Natural Resources,Chongqing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources,Chongqing 401120,China
3.Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology,South China Sea Institute of Oceanology,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guangzhou 510301,China
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Sediment creep as the precursor and indicator of the destruction of the submarine stratum, which can evolve into a large-scale submarine landslide, poses a huge threat to marine engineering construction and human life safety. Sediment creep morphology is mainly found to develop in the northern hemisphere through literature sorting, which is manifested by seafloor undulations composed of troughs and ridges. The main identification marks of sediment creep morphology are irregular changes in the morphology of troughs and ridges and their strikes extend along the water depth line and shear planes offset the troughs and ridges. Seismic activity, structural uplift, high deposition rate and formation pressure, gas-bearing formation and hydrate decomposition, etc., can all lead to the occurrence of sediment creep. However, many seafloor undulations suspected of sediment creep have been discovered in the process of previous research. The majority current research focuses on how to prove or falsify if these seafloor undulations are sediment creep. The slip deformation rate and the bottom interface of creep and its relationship with the underlying structure, the study of the formation process and evolution trend of sediment creep, etc., help to further determine the sediment creep, but its disaster evaluation work is rarely involved. Therefore, subsequent studies on sediment creep should strengthen the delineation and characterization of the bottom interface of sediment creep, and pay attention to the numerical and physical simulation studies of the formation process and evolution trend of sediment creep, which could contribute to the deep understanding of sediment creep and provide important information for evaluation of its disaster level.

Key words:  Sediment creep      Seafloor undulations      Bottom interface of sediment creep      Pre-existing structures      Separation and offset     
Received:  27 January 2021      Published:  20 August 2021
ZTFLH:  P737.2  
Fund: the Open Fund Project of Key Laboratory of Ocean and Marginal Sea Geology, Chinese Academy of Sciences "Geometric and instability analysis of submarine creep folds around Dongsha Islands"(OMG2019-08);The National Natural Science Foundation of China "Formation mechanism and instability analysis of a submarine creep zone in the Pearl River Mouth Basin, northern South China Sea"(41876054)
About author:  WU Xiaochuan (1991-), male, Chongqing City, Engineer. Research areas include seismogeology. E-mail:
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Xiaochuan WU
Xiaozhong GUO
Yanling HUANG
Zhenhua Huang
Wei Li

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Xiaochuan WU,Liming OUYANG,Xiaozhong GUO,Yanling HUANG,Zhenhua Huang,Wei Li. Review and Prospect of the Geomorphology of Sediment Creep in Sea Areas. Advances in Earth Science, 2021, 36(7): 763-772.

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Fig. 1  Distribution of submarine creep zones a and the schematic diagram of creeping morphology b
The locations of creep zones based on references [5~32]
Fig. 2  The marked sections of sediment creep in worldwide modified after references 121418222631])
(a)~(c) Aquitaine slopes; (d) Italian waters; (e) and (f) Caspian Sea; (g) Arctic waters; (h) and (i) Pearl River Canyons in the South China Sea
Table 1  Distributions and characteristics of studied sediment creep
Table 2  The features of certain ridges and troughs suspected of sediment creep
Fig. 3  The seafloor undulations formed by the combination of creeping and sedimentation modified after reference 37])
The plan view map (a) and section (b) of hybrid genetic undulations
Fig. 4  Comparison of true dip and apparent dip of ridge-trough interface modified after reference 36])
Fig. 5  The diagram of the structure underlying the trough and ridge as well as vertical dislocated fault
(a) The diagram of trough and ridge with underlying fault; (b) The diagram of trough and ridge with underlying landslide step; (c) The diagram of vertical dislocated segment caused by fault
Fig. 6  The numerical modeling diagram of the creeping of gas-bearing strata
(a)A schematic model of the gas-bearing strata;(b)The total displacements at the initial stage of creeping;(c)The shear stresses stage at the initial stage of creeping
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