Last millennia sedimentary record on a micro-tidal, low-accumulation prodelta (Tet NW Mediterranean)

TitleLast millennia sedimentary record on a micro-tidal, low-accumulation prodelta (Tet NW Mediterranean)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBourrin, F, Monaco, A, Aloisi, JC, Sanchez-Cabeza, JA, Lofi, J, Heussner, S, de Madron, XD, Jeanty, G, Buscail, R, Saragoni, G
JournalMarine Geology

Statistical sequential analysis was performed on a series of sediment cores collected from the Tet prodelta in the Gulf of Lions, northwestern Mediterranean Sea, between October 2003 and October 2004. Seabed changes during that period were correlated to hydrodynamic conditions (waves and currents) and river discharge. Low sediment supply prevents full preservation of new sediment strata on this low-accumulation prodelta located on a microtidal, storm-dorninated inner shelf. Severe meteorological events caused a rapid succession of erosion and deposition phases. For example, the December 2003 flood and storm produced a flood layer deposit that persisted for 2 months with only slight transformations due to early diagenesis and/or bioturbation, until a new, storm event eroded this layer. A typical sedimentary sequence was observed for the secular deposits composed of a 10-cm-thick sandy layer overlaying siltyclayey layers. These characteristic features were used to analyse the last millennia sedimentary record of the Tet prodelta. The low preservation of freshly deposited sediments and variable sedimentation rates during the last millennia period yield a sedimentary sequence formed by the outcropping of muddy prodeltaic units intersected by heterogeneous siltysandy units similar to those formed under present day hydrodynamic conditions. No flood layer was found related to catastrophic flooding of the last century in the sedimentary record. The Little lee Age (similar to 1550-1850 AD) probably favoured the formation of a well-developed muddy prodelta in the mouth of the Tet River. Later on, the decrease of sediment supply by rivers due to climate change and/or human activities (damming, irrigation), and the increase of the number of high-energy storms reaching the coast, induced a coarsening of the top sediment layer on this prodelta. This modem change of the substrate is also observed in the composition of benthic biota found in the substrate. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.