Nature of the Lowstand Surface on the Gulf of Cádiz Shelf and the Guadiana Incised-Valley System: Preliminary Results from the LASEA 2013 Cruise
Abstract:The LASEA 2013 cruise was executed in August 2013 in the northern margin of the Gulf of Cádiz, with the main goal of collecting data from the Guadiana River-influenced shelf, in order to: (1) study changes affecting the entire drainage basin; (2) correlate shelf unit sequences with the upper slope sedimentary record, composed dominantly of contourite deposits in specific stretches of the margin. As a first approach, attention is paid to the most obvious sedimentary manifestation of the influence of the river on the shelf domain, represented by the Guadiana incised-valley system. The database comprises both geophysical and sedimentological records. Geophysical data include multibeam bathymetry, TOPAS profiles and single-channel Sparker seismic profiles. Sedimentological data include sediment cores collected with gravity- and vibro-corer devices.
The lowstand erosional surface was mapped across the shelf. The lowstand surface exhibits two clearly contrasting patterns. In the outer shelf the surface isrepresented by an erosional truncation that can be planar or irregular. The lowstand surface is much more difficult to follow in the inner shelf, due to the amalgamation of erosional surfaces and the frequent stacking of coarse-grained deposits.
Incised valleys are recognized at shallow waters (20-30 m) the most significant of them is at least 1.5 km wide in the most proximal (recognized) section, decreasing seawards in width. The internal architecture of the valley exhibits the intercalation of laterally prograding sediment bodies and high-amplitude, subparallel configurations laterally related to valley margin prograding wedges.
The internal facies architecture suggests a transition from relatively high-energy fluvial to proximal estuarine environment to a lower-energy estuarine depositional environment. Thus, the study of the valley extension into the shelf is expected to provide clues for the recent reorganization of the entire fluvial system, during the course of the postglacial sea-level rise and ensuing sea-level stabilization.
Acknowledgements: this study was completed in the framework of the project CGL2011-30302-C02-02. It is also a contribution to the INQUA International Focus Group on Rapid environmental changes and human activity impacting continental shelf systems.