Indonesian Throughflow as a preconditioning mechanism for submarine landslides in the Makassar Strait

Rachel Brackenridge, Uisdean Nicholson, Benyamin Sapiie, Dorrik Stow, Dave Tappin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


The Makassar Strait is an important oceanic gateway, through which the main branch of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) transports water from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. This study identifies a number of moderate (>10 km 3) to giant (up to 650 km 3) mass transport deposits within the Makassar North Basin Pleistocene–Recent section. The majority of submarine landslides that formed these deposits originated from the Mahakam pro-delta, with the largest skewed to the south. We see clear evidence for ocean-current erosion, lateral transport and contourite deposition across the upper slope. This suggests that the ITF is acting as an along-slope conveyor belt, transporting sediment to the south of the delta, where rapid sedimentation rates and slope oversteepening results in recurring submarine landslides. A frequency for the >100 km 3failures is tentatively proposed at 0.5 Ma, with smaller events occurring at least every 160 ka. This area is therefore potentially prone to tsunamis generated from these submarine landslides. We identify a disparity between historical fault rupture-triggered tsunamis (located along the Palu-Koro fault zone) and the distribution of mass transport deposits in the subsurface. If these newly identified mass failures are tsunamigenic, they may represent a previously overlooked hazard in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-217
Number of pages23
JournalGeological Society Special Publications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology


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