The southern coast of the gulf of Corinth exhibits syn-rift deposits, giving insights into the first stages of continental extension as well as the geodynamic evolution of the surrounding Aegean region. The stratigraphy (relative position, 3D geometry, dating) of these deposits is still subject to controversies. The syn-rift evolution of the central part of the southern coast of the Corinth rift is revisited, based on new sedimentological and paleontological data. While ostracods analysis provides precise information about the paleoenvironments, recent advances in palynology supply a more accurate chronology.
For the first time, we document marine evidences and Pleistocene evidences below the well-known giant Gilbert-type fan deltas of the Corinth rift. The syn-rift fill records a three-phase history: (1) the Lower Group corresponds to continental to lacustrine environments passing up progressively to brackish environments with occasionally marine incursions from before 1.8 Ma to some time after 1.5 Ma, (2) the Middle Group corresponds to giant alluvial fans and to Gilbert-type fan deltas prograding in an alternating marine and lacustrine environment from around 1.5 Ma to some time after 0.7 Ma, and (3) the Upper Group corresponds to slope deposits, Gilbert-type fan deltas and marine terraces indicating the emergence of syn-rift sediments along the southern coast from at least 0.4 Ma to the present day, with alternating marine and lacustrine deposition controlled by the position of the Mediterranean sea level relative to the Rion Strait sill.