Granulometric characterization and evaluation of annually banded mid-Holocene estuarine silts, Welsh Severn Estuary (UK): coastal change, sea level and climate
Allen, J. R. L. and Haslett, S. K. (2006) Granulometric characterization and evaluation of annually banded mid-Holocene estuarine silts, Welsh Severn Estuary (UK): coastal change, sea level and climate. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25 (13-14). pp. 1418-1446. ISSN 0277-3791
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2005.12.009
Holocene silts (salt marshes) and highest intertidal-supratidal peats are superbly exposed on a 15 kin coastal transect which reveals two laterally extensive units of annually banded silts (Beds 3, 7) associated with three transgressive-regressive silt-peat cycles (early sixth-early fourth millennium BC). Bed 3 in places is concordantly and gradationally related to peats above and below, but in others transgresses older strata. Bed 7 also grades up into peat, but everywhere overlies a discordance. The banding in Bed 3 at three main and two minor sites was resolved and characterized texturally at high-resolution (2.5/5 mm contiguous slices) using laser granulometry (LS230 with PIDS) and a comprehensive scheme of data-assessment. Most of Bed 3 formed very rapidly, at peak values of several tens of millimetres annually, in accordance with modelled effects of sea-level fluctuations on mature marshes (bed concordant and gradational) and on marshes growing up after coastal erosion and retreat (bed with discordant base). Using data from the modern Severn Estuary, the textural contrast within bands, and its variation between bands, points to a variable but overall milder mid-Holocene climate than today. The inter-annual variability affected marsh dynamics, as shown by the behaviour of the finely divided plant tissues present. Given local calibration, the methodology is applicable to other tidal systems with banded silts in Britain and mainland northwest Europe. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.