Stratigraphic signature of sub-orbital climate and sea-level changes in the Gulf of Lions (NW Mediterranean Sea)
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
The Promess boreholes in the Gulf of Lions (NW Mediterranean) provide precise chrono-stratigraphic constraints of the last ca 500 ky, that were nicely preserved at the shelf edge due to high accommodation and important sediment supply from the Rhone River. The major stratigraphic elements in this physiographic domain are Falling Stage Systems Tracts (in the sense of SEPM) linked to 100-ky eustatic cycles. They form wedges pinching out on the middle shelf, and thickening seaward on the outer shelf/upper slope (about 30-40m thick on the outer shelf). Within the uppermost sequence, linked to the last Glacial-Interglacial cycle, internal discontinuities were long described, but they were assigned to autogenic processes such as lobe avulsion or bedform migration. However, careful interpretation of a dense grid of very high resolution seismic data, together with precise chronostratigraphic constraints from borehole data and long piston cores, reveal that distinct parasequences, correlable at the regional scale, correspond to relatively minor sea-level changes linked (a) to Bond Cycles during the end of the Last Glacial, and (b) to an early Melt Water Pulse at the onset of Deglacial sea-level rise. These regressive and transgressive (respectively) parasequences are particularly well preserved in canyon heads, due to better accommodation. We propose that such features are important building blocks of the stratigraphic record, that might be recognized elsewhere on modern continental margins, as well as in the rock record.