Un-fragmented stratigraphic records of late Quaternary multiple incised valley systems are rarely preserved in the subsurface of alluvial-delta plains due to older valley reoccupation. The identification of a well-preserved incised valley fill succession beneath the southern interfluve of the Last Glacial Maximum Arno palaeovalley (northern Italy) represents an exceptional opportunity to examine in detail evolutionary trends of a Mediterranean system over multiple glacial–interglacial cycles. Through sedimentological and quantitative meiofauna (benthic foraminifera and ostracods) analyses of two reference cores (80 m and 100 m long) and stratigraphic correlations, a mid-Pleistocene palaeovalley, 5 km wide and 50 m deep, was reconstructed. Whereas valley filling is chronologically constrained to the penultimate interglacial (Marine Isotope Stage 7) by four electron spin resonance ages on bivalve shells (Cerastoderma glaucum), its incision is tentatively correlated with the Marine Isotope Stage 8 sea-level fall. Above basal fluvial-channel gravels, the incised valley fill is formed by a mud-prone succession, up to 44 m thick, formed by a lower floodplain unit and an upper unit with brackish meiofauna that reflects the development of a wave-dominated estuary. Subtle meiofauna changes towards less confined conditions record two marine flooding episodes, chronologically linked to the internal Marine Isotope Stage 7 climate-eustatic variability. After the maximum transgressive phase, recorded by coastal sands, the interfluves were flooded around 200 ka (latest Marine Isotope Stage 7). The subsequent shift in river incision patterns, possibly driven by neotectonic activity, prevented valley reoccupation guiding the northward formation of the Last Glacial Maximum palaeovalley. The applied multivariate approach allowed the sedimentological characterization of the Marine Isotope Stage 7 and Marine Isotope Stage 1 palaeovalley fills, including shape, size and facies architecture, which revealed a consistent river-coastal system response over two non-consecutive glacial–interglacial cycles (Marine Isotope Stages 8 to 7 and Marine Isotope Stages 2 to 1). The recurring stacking pattern of facies documents a predominant control exerted on stratigraphy by Milankovitch and sub-Milankovitch glacio-eustatic oscillations across the late Quaternary period.

Late Quaternary multiple incised valley systems: An unusually well-preserved stratigraphic record of two interglacial valley-fill successions from the Arno Plain (northern Tuscany, Italy)

Rossi, Veronica;Amorosi, Alessandro;
2017

Abstract

Un-fragmented stratigraphic records of late Quaternary multiple incised valley systems are rarely preserved in the subsurface of alluvial-delta plains due to older valley reoccupation. The identification of a well-preserved incised valley fill succession beneath the southern interfluve of the Last Glacial Maximum Arno palaeovalley (northern Italy) represents an exceptional opportunity to examine in detail evolutionary trends of a Mediterranean system over multiple glacial–interglacial cycles. Through sedimentological and quantitative meiofauna (benthic foraminifera and ostracods) analyses of two reference cores (80 m and 100 m long) and stratigraphic correlations, a mid-Pleistocene palaeovalley, 5 km wide and 50 m deep, was reconstructed. Whereas valley filling is chronologically constrained to the penultimate interglacial (Marine Isotope Stage 7) by four electron spin resonance ages on bivalve shells (Cerastoderma glaucum), its incision is tentatively correlated with the Marine Isotope Stage 8 sea-level fall. Above basal fluvial-channel gravels, the incised valley fill is formed by a mud-prone succession, up to 44 m thick, formed by a lower floodplain unit and an upper unit with brackish meiofauna that reflects the development of a wave-dominated estuary. Subtle meiofauna changes towards less confined conditions record two marine flooding episodes, chronologically linked to the internal Marine Isotope Stage 7 climate-eustatic variability. After the maximum transgressive phase, recorded by coastal sands, the interfluves were flooded around 200 ka (latest Marine Isotope Stage 7). The subsequent shift in river incision patterns, possibly driven by neotectonic activity, prevented valley reoccupation guiding the northward formation of the Last Glacial Maximum palaeovalley. The applied multivariate approach allowed the sedimentological characterization of the Marine Isotope Stage 7 and Marine Isotope Stage 1 palaeovalley fills, including shape, size and facies architecture, which revealed a consistent river-coastal system response over two non-consecutive glacial–interglacial cycles (Marine Isotope Stages 8 to 7 and Marine Isotope Stages 2 to 1). The recurring stacking pattern of facies documents a predominant control exerted on stratigraphy by Milankovitch and sub-Milankovitch glacio-eustatic oscillations across the late Quaternary period.
Rossi, Veronica*; Amorosi, Alessandro; Sarti, Giovanni; Mariotti, Sara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/622975
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