Nepheloid layer distribution in the Gulf of Valencia, northwestern Mediterranean

Marta Ribo Gene, Pere Puig, Jordi Salat, Albert Palanques

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17 Citations (Scopus)


According to previous studies, the surface circulation of the Gulf of Valencia (GoV) is characterized by a convergence between the southwestward Northern Current carrying old Atlantic Waters (oAW) and the northward intrusions of recent Atlantic Waters (rAW) imported through the Ibiza Channel. This paper focuses on the distribution of the suspended sediment concentration in the GoV obtained from a dense grid of CTD observations in June 1995 during the oceanographic cruise MESO'95 (MESOscale processes). We evaluate the relation between currents, water masses and the nepheloid structure at the time of the survey. Results showed higher suspended sediment concentration (SSC) in the oAW than in the rAW. At the shelf-break depth, an important detachment of particulate matter was observed off Cap La Nao, extending seawards all across the Ibiza Channel. The presence of this intermediate nepheloid layer detachment indicates a preferential off-shelf sediment export at the southern end of the GoV, where the orientation of the continental margin changes, and oAW and rAW merge. On the continental slope, several nepheloid layers detachments were observed between 400 and 600 m, where the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) interacts with the seafloor, suggesting the possible presence of internal waves causing sediment resuspension and/or maintaining particles in suspension in the mid-slope region. A bottom nepheloid layer was also observed at deeper locations along the central and southern part of the GoV continental slope, but not at the Ibiza Sill.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130 - 138
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Marine circulation
  • Sediment dynamics
  • Nepheloid layers
  • Gulf of Valencia
  • NW Mediterranean


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