In this paper we present the results of an integrated geomorphological, pedological and stratigraphical study carried out along the Ionian coast of northern Calabria (southern Italy). This area is characterised by the occurrence of five orders of alluvial terraces that are striking features of the landscape, where large and steep catchments debouch from the mountain front to the hilly coastal belt. Field investigations indicate that the deposits of all five terraces are suggestive of shallow gravel-bed braided streams. On the basis of the age of the Pleistocene substratum and morphostratigraphic correlation with marine terraces cropping out in the nearby areas, each order has been associated to specific marine oxygen isotope stages. Consequently, we focused on the interplay of allocyclic factors influencing stream aggradation/degradation. Soil features and other climatic proxies suggest that climate didn't play an important role with respect to tectonic and base-level changes in controlling fluvial dynamics. In particular, we recognised that during the middle Pleistocene the study area experienced a period of subaerial landscape modelling, as suggested by the thick and complex alluvial sequence of the highest terrace (T1). The onset of regional uplift marks a change in the geomorphic scenario, with tectonic and eustatically driven changes in base-level working together in causing switches in fluvial aggradational/erosional phases (T2-T5 terraces). Because of the uplift, river dissection occurred during phases of sea level fall, whereas aggradation phases occurred during periods of climate amelioration (sea level rise) just before highstands were attained. As a consequence, the stepped terraces in the study area reflect the interplay between tectonics (uplift) and sea level changes, in which terraces define episodes of relative sea level fall during the late Quaternary.

Alluvial terraces on the Ionian coast of northern Calabria, southern Italy: implications for tectonic and sea level controls

ROBUSTELLI, Gaetano;LUCÀ F;SCARCIGLIA, Fabio;MUTO, Francesco;
2009

Abstract

In this paper we present the results of an integrated geomorphological, pedological and stratigraphical study carried out along the Ionian coast of northern Calabria (southern Italy). This area is characterised by the occurrence of five orders of alluvial terraces that are striking features of the landscape, where large and steep catchments debouch from the mountain front to the hilly coastal belt. Field investigations indicate that the deposits of all five terraces are suggestive of shallow gravel-bed braided streams. On the basis of the age of the Pleistocene substratum and morphostratigraphic correlation with marine terraces cropping out in the nearby areas, each order has been associated to specific marine oxygen isotope stages. Consequently, we focused on the interplay of allocyclic factors influencing stream aggradation/degradation. Soil features and other climatic proxies suggest that climate didn't play an important role with respect to tectonic and base-level changes in controlling fluvial dynamics. In particular, we recognised that during the middle Pleistocene the study area experienced a period of subaerial landscape modelling, as suggested by the thick and complex alluvial sequence of the highest terrace (T1). The onset of regional uplift marks a change in the geomorphic scenario, with tectonic and eustatically driven changes in base-level working together in causing switches in fluvial aggradational/erosional phases (T2-T5 terraces). Because of the uplift, river dissection occurred during phases of sea level fall, whereas aggradation phases occurred during periods of climate amelioration (sea level rise) just before highstands were attained. As a consequence, the stepped terraces in the study area reflect the interplay between tectonics (uplift) and sea level changes, in which terraces define episodes of relative sea level fall during the late Quaternary.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/142032
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