Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Cattaneo A., Correggiari A., Langone L., Trincardi F. The late-Holocene Gargano subaqueous delta, Adriatic shelf: Sediment pathways and supply fluctuations. In: Marine Geology, vol. 193 (40210) pp. 61 - 91. Elsevier Science Bv, 2003.
"The Gargano subaqueous delta formed on the eastern and southeastern sides of the Gargano promontory, in the western Adriatic. This subaqueous deposit represents the southernmost portion of the late-Holocene highstand systems tract (HST) growing along the western side of the Adriatic as an extensive wedge of deltaic and shallow-marine mud. The late-Holocene HST rests above a regional downlap surface that marks the time of maximum landward shift of the shoreline attained around 5.5 cal. kyr BP, at the end of the late-Pleistocene-Holocene sea-level rise. High-resolution seismic-stratigraphic and tephra correlation indicate the presence of a thin basal unit recording condensed deposition between 5.5 and 3.7 cal. kyr BP over much of the basin. Above this unit, sediment accumulation rates increased to high values (as much as 1.5 cm yr(-1)) reflecting the stabilisation of relative sea level and the forcing from high frequency climatic or anthropogenic changes affecting river dynamics. The late-Holocene mud wedge, of which the Gargano subaqueous delta is a significant component, reaches up to 35 in in thickness and has a volume of ca 180 km(3). The shore-parallel thickness distribution of the mud wedge reflects the dominant oceanographic regime of the basin and the asymmetric location of the mostly western sediment sources (with a combined modern delivery of 51.7x10(6) t yr(-1) of mean suspended load). In sections perpendicular to the coast the late-Holocene mud wedge appears composed of forestepping clinoforms with gently dipping foresets (typically 0.5degrees). The Gargano subaqueous delta is characterised by a submarine topset in water depths shallower than 25-28 m, and accounts for about 1/7th of the total volume of the late-Holocene mud wedge, despite the absence of direct river supply to the Gargano area. In the area of maximum interaction between shore-parallel currents and basin morphology, progradation occurs onto a flat and barren bedrock outcrop in about 50-80 m water depth. The rapid transition from a thickness of 30 m of late-Holocene mud to nil is a good indication of the role of southward-flowing bottom-hugging shelf currents in causing the redistribution of sediment along the Adriatic inner shelf. Additional evidence of this regime comes from: (1) the most recent sigmoid (defined at seismic-stratigraphic scale) deposited since the onset of the Little Ice Age, showing a shore-parallel thickness distribution and a main depocentre to the southeast of the Gargano promontory; (2) the maximum values of sediment accumulation rates over the last century (documented by Pb-210 measurements) defining a narrow shore-parallel belt immediately seaward of the depocentre of the most recent sigmoid. The Gargano subaqueous delta grows from the outbuilding of progressively younger progradational sigmoids that tend to parallel the previous ones. The Gargano subaqueous delta differs from other, documented late-Holocene subaqueous deltas because its growth reflects: (1) sediment transport dominated by bottom currents sub-parallel to the strike of the composing clinoforms; (2) a complex supply regime including the Po delta (350 km to the north) and several coalescing Apennine rivers acting as 'line source', (3) several alternating intervals of enhanced outbuilding and condensed depositions and (4) an in-phase growth of the most recent sigmoid with the major progradation of the Po delta during the Little Ice Age. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved."
Subject Late Holocene
Adriatic Sea
mud wedge
subaqueous delta

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