In order to study sediment accumulation rates in the Palamós submarine canyon (Northwestern Mediterranean) during the last century, three sediment cores were extracted from the canyon axis at depths of 450, 1200 and 1750 m respectively, where instrumented moorings were previously located. Estimated sedimentation rates based on 210Pb and 137Cs profiles suggest that the contemporary trends of sediment transfer and accumulation in the canyon may be different from secular trends. During the seventies, a two-fold increase of the sediment accumulation rate took place at the 1750 m depth site. This change has been associated to trawling activities and is attributed to the rapid technical development that the local trawling fleet underwent during the seventies. The surroundings and rims of submarine canyons are frequently targeted by commercial trawling fisheries, an activity that may enhance the input of resuspended particles into canyons, and eventually trigger sediment gravity flows. Our results suggest that the effects of trawling over the dynamics of the seafloor may extend further and deeper from the fishing grounds, eventually extending to bathyal depths. Hence the anthropogenic influence on the sedimentary budget of some deep submarine environments may be more important than previously thought. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- continental margins
- Northwestern Mediterranean
- Palamós Canyon (41-42°N, 3-4°E)
- sediment accumulation rates
- submarine canyon