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Reconstruction of Late-Quaternary sea- and lake-level changes in a tectonically active marginal basin using seismic stratigraphy: The Gulf of Cariaco, NE Venezuela
Van Daele, M.; van Welden, A.; Moernaut, J.; Beck, C.; Audemard, F.; Sanchez, J.; Jouanne, F.; Carrillo, E.; Malave, G.; Lemus, A.; De Batist, M. (2011). Reconstruction of Late-Quaternary sea- and lake-level changes in a tectonically active marginal basin using seismic stratigraphy: The Gulf of Cariaco, NE Venezuela. Mar. Geol. 279(1-4): 37-51. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2010.10.011
In: Marine Geology. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0025-3227, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 279910 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Marine; Fresh water
Author keywords
    Cariaco; El Pilar Fault; Late Pleistocene; seismic stratigraphy; delta;

Authors  Top 
  • Van Daele, M., more
  • van Welden, A.
  • Moernaut, J., more
  • Beck, C.
  • Audemard, F.
  • Sanchez, J.
  • Jouanne, F.
  • Carrillo, E.
  • Malave, G.
  • Lemus, A.
  • De Batist, M., more

Abstract
    The Gulf of Cariaco is a marginal basin located between the Cariaco Basin and the Paria Gulf, offshore NE Venezuela, along a system of active right-lateral strike-slip faults. It is connected to the Caribbean Sea via a shallow 58-m-deep sill implying that the gulf was disconnected from the global ocean during eustatic lowstands. A dense grid of high-resolution reflection seismic profiles has been used to determine the overall tectonic structure of the gulf and to establish the seismic stratigraphy of its sedimentary infill. Six unconformity-bounded seismic-stratigraphic units were identified in the upper similar to 200 m of the sedimentary infill. Detailed seismic-stratigraphic and seismic-facies analysis allowed defining a series of sedimentary features that can be used as indicators of past sea or lake level in the Gulf of Cariaco: i) delta offlap breaks, ii) evaporites, and iii) erosional unconformities. Using accurate measurements of these various indicators at several locations in the gulf and a simple total subsidence model, a relative sea/lake-level history encompassing the last 130 kyr could be reconstructed. In periods of connection with the open ocean, reconstructed relative sea level correlates well with eustatic sea level. In times of disconnection, distinct lake-level fluctuations occurred, which sometimes resulted in total dessication of the gulf. Lake-level fluctuations appear to correlate with major Heinrich Events, stadials and interstadials. MIS 4, the LGM and the Younger Dryas were thus identified in the Gulf of Cariaco sedimentary record. The last reconnection to the Caribbean Sea occurred during MWP1b (around 11.5 kyr). The very good fit of the Cariaco sea/lake-level curve with the eustatic sea-level curves (both in terms of amplitude and of timing) underscores potential for future paleoclimate research of the sedimentary record contained in this marginal basin, despite its active tectonic setting.

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