Abstract

The Maguelone shore extends along the northern coast of the Gulf of Lions margin, West of the Rhône delta and East of some high gradient coastal streams that have been providing most of the clastic sediments to the Gulf of Lions margin since the early Miocene. This 10 km wide area comprises an onshore small coastal watershed (15 km long) in low-lying carbonate hills, kilometer wide marshes, sandy beach and shoreface featuring local low sedimentation. Deposit architecture in such a coastal zone records dynamics of incised valley fill under the influence of rivers and wave/current hydrodynamics in a microtidal environment during an eustatic cycle.

A detailed analysis of about 250 km of very high resolution seismic profiles, tens of cores and outcrops data revealed the evolution of the Maguelone coastal system from Late-Quaternary to present-day. It highlighted also dominant denudation processes in the upstream catchments associated to the formation of incised valley seaward during Quaternary. Combination of this inherited morphology together with hydrodynamics controlled the lagoonal environment evolution since the last transgression. In particular, the Maguelone shore is characterized by the formation of built-over-rias lagoonal systems and records an evolution from partially protected lagoon to isolated lagoon environment. These two stages of lagoon evolution correspond to distinct deposit environments. Correlation of fauna contents with deposit geometry improves lagoonal environment models.

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