Abstract

This paper analyzes depth variations of seismically detected lowstand features (i.e., paleo–shelf break and lowstand submerged depositional terraces [LSDTs]), in order to define vertical movements along a continental margin. Narrowly spaced, high-resolution two-dimensional reflection seismic data were used, collected along a segment of the continental shelf of Latium (eastern Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy). Seismostratigraphic analysis allowed us to identify the six most-recent fourth-order depositional sequences formed in the past ∼500 k.y. They have a different degree of preservation in the outer and middle shelf, with almost no continuation in the inner shelf. Some wedge-shaped bodies interpreted as LSDTs can be identified in these units. The depth of paleo–shelf break and LSDTs of marine isotope stage 12 (ca. 435 ka) was measured, and gradually varies along the margin between ∼220 m and ∼131 m below current sea level. Differential subsidence rates have been estimated for the area, varying from 0 to −0.21 mm/a. The spatial variations agree with studies of uplifted coastal terraces on land, controlled by localized volcanic activity along the Latium section of the Tyrrhenian coast. The comparison of deformation onshore and offshore has proven to be a promising approach for understanding the evolution of uplifting continental margins.

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