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The role of climate, marine influence and sedimentation rates in late-Holocene estuarine evolution (SW Portugal).


Abstract: Estuaries are sensitive to changes in global to regional sea level, to climate-driven variation in rainfall and to fluvial discharge. In this study, we use source and environmentally sensitive proxies together with radiocarbon dating to examine a 7-m-thick sedimentary record from the Sado estuary accumulated throughout the last 3.6 kyr. The lithofacies, geochemistry and diatom assemblages in the sediments accumulated between 3570 and 3240 cal. BP indicate a mixture between terrestrial and marine sources. The relative contribution of each source varied through time as sedimentation progressed in a low intertidal to high subtidal and low-energy accreting tidal flat. The sedimentation proceeded under a general pattern of drier and higher aridity conditions, punctuated by century-long changes of the rainfall regime that mirror an increase in storminess that affected SW Portugal and Europe. The sediment sequence contains evidence of two periods characterized by downstream displacement of the estuarine/freshwater transitional boundary, dated to 3570?3400 cal. BP and 3300?3240 cal. BP. These are intercalated by one episode where marine influence shifted upstream. All sedimentation episodes developed under high terrestrial sediment delivery to this transitional region, leading to exceptionally high sedimentation rates, independently of the relative expression of terrestrial/marine influences in sediment facies. Our data show that these disturbances are mainly climate-driven and related to variations in rainfall and only secondarily with regional sea-level oscillations. From 3240 cal. BP onwards, an abrupt change in sediment facies is noted, in which the silting estuarine bottom reaches mean sea level and continued accreting until present under prevailing freshwater conditions, the tidal flat changing to an alluvial plain. The environmental modification is accompanied by a pronounced change in sedimentation rate that decreased by two orders of magnitude, reflecting the loss of accommodation space rather than the influence of climate or regional sea-level drivers.

 Fuente: The Holocene 2019, Vol. 29(4), 622-632

Editorial: Sage

 Año de publicación: 2019

Nº de páginas: 11

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

DOI: 10.1177/0959683618824768

ISSN: 1477-0911,0959-6836

Proyecto español: HAR2014-51830-P, HAR2011-29907-C03-00, SFRH/BD/110270/2015, PTDC/HISARQ/121592/2010

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683618824768

Autores/as

ANA MARIA CAIXADO NOVO DA COSTA

CONCEIÇÃO FREITAS, MARIA DA

LEIRA, MANEL

COSTAS, SUSANA

COSTA, PEDRO J.M.

ANDRADE, CÉSAR

BAO, ROBERTO

DUARTE, JOÃO

RODRIGUES, AURORA

CACHÃO, MÁRIO

ARAÚJO, ANA CRISTINA

DINIZ, MARIANA