Abstract

High-resolution seismic reflection profiles (Uniboom 300 J) carried out on the southern continental shelf of the Gulf of Salerno, have been interpreted using the sequence stratigraphy as tool and model. They allowed to reconstruct the environmental evolution during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene. The succession is made up of two prograding juxtaposed units (A and B) separated by a reflector which, towards the land, turns into an erosional surface. Another unit (C) with parallel, continuous reflectors follows in onlap the B ones. These units are repeated three times with the same reciprocal relationships. The entire succession rests on the marine basal unit while on top the last B unit is followed by the upper unit that is the Holocene wedge. The A units are interpreted as sedimentary progradations during phases of sea-level highstand; the B units above the erosional surfaces (sequence boundaries) represent progradations due to phases of forced regressions during fall of sea level. The differences in depth (in the order of meters), between the offlap-breaks of the prograding, juxtaposed units, indicate small sea level oscillations. The C units record phases of rapidly rising of sea level. These three depositional sequences, attributed to high frequency cycles developing in a time interval of tens of thousands years (fifth order), show a general regressive trend connected to a longer cycle which, from the Tyrrhenian to the Holocene, gives rise to a 15 km coastline progradation. The chronostratigraphic framing of the sequences was done by referring to data known in literature and by correlating the seismic units with the upper Pleistocene-Holocene deposits outcropping on land. Furthermore, the position of the upper Pleistocene deposits at sea, indicating a subsidence of the continental shelf, and the anomalous altitude at which Tyrrhenian deposits on land are found, suggest a tilting of the area with the hinge line located approximately at the present-day coastline.

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