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Late Quaternary history of the Nouméa lagoon (New Caledonia, South West Pacific) as depicted by seismic stratigraphy and multibeam bathymetry A modern model of tropical rimmed shelf

Abstract : The barrier reef tract of New Caledonia is the second largest in the world enclosing lagoons of variable width. The Late Quaternary evolution of these barrier reefs and lagoons is poorly known. A recent high resolution seismic and multibeam bathymetry survey was carried out in the south-western lagoon from shoreline to open ocean across the barrier reef pass systems to perform sequence stratigraphy and to better understand the Quaternary evolution of the lagoon. Two depositional sequences bounded by type-1 erosional surfaces can be identified. The bounding surfaces delineate the bottom of two generations of incised valleys. System tracts comprising a complete succession of regressive, lowstand, transgressive and highstand tracts were observed only in the upper sequence. Chronostratigraphic and sedimentological interpretations of the seismic data are based on correlations with the chronology defined in the nearby cores drilled through the reefs and in the gravity cores previously recovered in the inner lagoon. Interpretation of seismic data is also carried out on the basis of correlation with multibeam bathymetric data. Our results indicate that the history of the New Caledonian lagoon probably does not exceed 200ka marked by two or three brief episodes each of immersion of about ten thousand years. The bathymetric data reveal that during successive low sea level stands, the lagoon was dependent upon erosional fluvial networks. The deep fluvial valleys were connected to the continental slope through the passes. Seismic records reveal that upstream palaeo-channels are not connected to the modern coastal rivers. In contrast, many aggrading deposits, including numerous stacking channels, and extending across the proximal part of the outer lagoon, can be identified. Examination of drainage network morphology suggests a progressive tilt of the outer lagoon. Such evolution reveals that the Nouméa lagoon which is one of the widest in the world is an exceptional modern example of a rimmed shelf providing data to analyze the past counterparts.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 14, 2008 - 5:34:16 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:23:22 AM

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Pascal Le Roy, Guy Cabioch, B. Monod, Yves Lagabrielle, Bernard Pelletier, et al.. Late Quaternary history of the Nouméa lagoon (New Caledonia, South West Pacific) as depicted by seismic stratigraphy and multibeam bathymetry A modern model of tropical rimmed shelf. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Elsevier, 2008, 270 (1-2), pp.29-45. ⟨10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.08.012⟩. ⟨insu-00338953⟩

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