Late Quaternaryaggradation rates and stratigraphic architecture of the southern Po Plain, Italy
L. Bruno, A. Amorosi, P. Severi and B. Costagli
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 29, No 2, April 2017 pp. 234 - 248
Info: Article, PDF ( 4.15Mb )
The Po River Basin, where accumulation and preservation of thick sedimentary packages are enhanced by high rates of tectonic subsidence, represents an ideal site to assess the relations between vertical changes in stratigraphic architecture and sediment accumulation rates. Based on a large stratigraphic database, a markedly contrasting stratigraphy of Late Pleistocene and Holocene deposits is reconstructed from the subsurface of the modern alluvial and coastal plains. Laterally extensive fluvial channel bodies and related pedogenically modified muds of latest Pleistocene age are unconformably overlain by Holocene overbank fines, grading seaward into paralic and nearshore facies associations. In the interfluvial areas, a stiff paleosol, dating at about 12.5–10 cal ky BP, marks the Pleistocene–Holocene boundary. Across this paleosol, aggradation rates (ARs) from 16 radiocarbondated cores invariably show a sharp increase, from 0.1–0.9 mm year 1 to 0.9–2.9 mm year 1. Comparatively lower Pleistocene values are inferred to reflect fluvial activity under a low-accommodation (lowstand and early transgressive) regime, whereas higher ARs during the Holocene are related to increasing accommodation under late transgressive and highstand conditions. Holocene sediment accumulation patterns vary significantly from site to site, and do not exhibit common trends. Very high accumulation rates (20–60 mm year 1) are indicated by fluvial channel or progradational delta facies, suggesting that extremely variable spatial distribution of Holocene ARs was primarily controlled by autogenic processes, such as fluvial channel avulsion or delta lobe switching. Contrasting AR between uppermost Pleistocene and Holocene deposits also are reported from the interfluves of several coeval, alluvial-coastal plain systems worldwide, suggesting a key control by allogenic processes. Sediment accumulation curves from adjacent incised valley fills show, instead, variable shapes as a function of the complex mechanisms of valley formation and filling.