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Late Glacial to Preboreal sea-level rise recorded by the Rhône deltaic system (NW Mediterranean)

Abstract : A unique late Glacial–Preboreal record of changes in sea-level and sediment fluxes originating from the Alps is recorded in the Rhône subaqueous delta in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The compilation of detailed bathymetric charts, together with high-resolution seismic profiles and long cores, reveals the detailed architecture of several sediment lobes, related to periods of decreased sea-level rise and/or increased sediment flux. They are situated along the retreat path of the Rhône distributaries, from the shelf edge and canyon heads up to the modern coastline. They form transgressive backstepping parasequences across the shelf, the late Holocene (highstand) deltas being confined to the inner shelf. The most prominent feature is an elongated paleo-shoreface/deltaic system, with an uppermost sandy fraction remolded into subaqueous dunes. A long piston core into the bottomsets of this prograding unit allows precise dating of this ancient deltaic system. In seismic data, it displays aggradation, starting at not, vert, similar 15 cal kyr BP, followed by progradation initiated during the first phase of the Younger Dryas, a period of reduced sea-level rise or stillstand. The delta kept pace with resumed sea-level rise during the Preboreal (which is estimated at about 1 cm/yr), as a result of increased sediment supply from the Alps (melting of glaciers and more humid climate “flushing” the sediment down to the sea). Abandonment of the delta occurred around 10,500 cal yr BP, that is to say about 1000 yr after the end of the Younger Dryas, probably because of decreased sediment flux.
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Serge S. Berné, Gwenael Jouet, Maria-Angela Bassetti, B. Dennielou, M. Taviani. Late Glacial to Preboreal sea-level rise recorded by the Rhône deltaic system (NW Mediterranean). Marine Geology, Elsevier, 2007, 245 (1-4), pp.65-88. ⟨10.1016/j.margeo.2007.07.006⟩. ⟨insu-00238536⟩



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