The stratigraphic record of the quaternary sea level fluctuations and the impact of the post-glacial sea level rise (Termination I) in the Adriatic basin (Mediterranean sea)

Maselli, Vittorio (2011) The stratigraphic record of the quaternary sea level fluctuations and the impact of the post-glacial sea level rise (Termination I) in the Adriatic basin (Mediterranean sea), [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze della terra, 23 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/3860.
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The modern stratigraphy of clastic continental margins is the result of the interaction between several geological processes acting on different time scales, among which sea level oscillations, sediment supply fluctuations and local tectonics are the main mechanisms. During the past three years my PhD was focused on understanding the impact of each of these process in the deposition of the central and northern Adriatic sedimentary successions, with the aim of reconstructing and quantifying the Late Quaternary eustatic fluctuations. In the last few decades, several Authors tried to quantify past eustatic fluctuations through the analysis of direct sea level indicators, among which drowned barrier-island deposits or coral reefs, or indirect methods, such as Oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) or modeling simulations. Sea level curves, obtained from direct sea level indicators, record a composite signal, formed by the contribution of the global eustatic change and regional factors, as tectonic processes or glacial-isostatic rebound effects: the eustatic signal has to be obtained by removing the contribution of these other mechanisms. To obtain the most realistic sea level reconstructions it is important to quantify the tectonic regime of the central Adriatic margin. This result has been achieved integrating a numerical approach with the analysis of high-resolution seismic profiles. In detail, the subsidence trend obtained from the geohistory analysis and the backstripping of the borehole PRAD1.2 (the borehole PRAD1.2 is a 71 m continuous borehole drilled in -185 m of water depth, south of the Mid Adriatic Deep - MAD - during the European Project PROMESS 1, Profile Across Mediterranean Sedimentary Systems, Part 1), has been confirmed by the analysis of lowstand paleoshorelines and by benthic foraminifera associations investigated through the borehole. This work showed an evolution from inner-shelf environment, during Marine Isotopic Stage (MIS) 10, to upper-slope conditions, during MIS 2. Once the tectonic regime of the central Adriatic margin has been constrained, it is possible to investigate the impact of sea level and sediment supply fluctuations on the deposition of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene transgressive deposits. The Adriatic transgressive record (TST - Transgressive Systems Tract) is formed by three correlative sedimentary bodies, deposited in less then 14 kyr since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM); in particular: along the central Adriatic shelf and in the adjacent slope basin the TST is formed by marine units, while along the northern Adriatic shelf the TST is represented by costal deposits in a backstepping configuration. The central Adriatic margin, characterized by a thick transgressive sedimentary succession, is the ideal site to investigate the impact of late Pleistocene climatic and eustatic fluctuations, among which Meltwater Pulses 1A and 1B and the Younger Dryas cold event. The central Adriatic TST is formed by a tripartite deposit bounded by two regional unconformities. In particular, the middle TST unit includes two prograding wedges, deposited in the interval between the two Meltwater Pulse events, as highlighted by several 14C age estimates, and likely recorded the Younger Dryas cold interval. Modeling simulations, obtained with the two coupled models HydroTrend 3.0 and 2D-Sedflux 1.0C (developed by the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System - CSDMS), integrated by the analysis of high resolution seismic profiles and core samples, indicate that: 1 - the prograding middle TST unit, deposited during the Younger Dryas, was formed as a consequence of an increase in sediment flux, likely connected to a decline in vegetation cover in the catchment area due to the establishment of sub glacial arid conditions; 2 - the two-stage prograding geometry was the consequence of a sea level still-stand (or possibly a fall) during the Younger Dryas event. The northern Adriatic margin, characterized by a broad and gentle shelf (350 km wide with a low angle plunge of 0.02° to the SE), is the ideal site to quantify the timing of each steps of the post LGM sea level rise. The modern shelf is characterized by sandy deposits of barrier-island systems in a backstepping configuration, showing younger ages at progressively shallower depths, which recorded the step-wise nature of the last sea level rise. The age-depth model, obtained by dated samples of basal peat layers, is in good agreement with previous published sea level curves, and highlights the post-glacial eustatic trend. The interval corresponding to the Younger Dyas cold reversal, instead, is more complex: two coeval coastal deposits characterize the northern Adriatic shelf at very different water depths. Several explanations and different models can be attempted to explain this conundrum, but the problem remains still unsolved.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Maselli, Vittorio
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze della terra e dell'ambiente
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
late quaternary sea level changes adriatic basin geohistory sequence stratigraphy modeling simulations
Data di discussione
27 Aprile 2011

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