It is widely recognized that reconstruction of Holocene relative sea levels (RSLs) is of fundamental importance for understanding Glacio-Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) (and fine-tuning GIA models) as well as to assess coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise (cf. Antonioli et al., 2009). Moreover, Holocene RSL data provide information on vertical land movements, even at local scale caused by tectonic and/or volcanic structures; in addition to the ‘eustatic’ values provided by the IPCC (Lambeck et al., 2011), these are important components of future sea-level projections.
The Mediterranean sea, with its small tidal ranges and relatively low-energy storms (which favour the preservation of sea level markers along coastlines) has been the theatre of several studies related to field-measures of past sea levels using RSL markers for over four decades (cf. Kershaw and Guo, 2001; Pirazzoli, 2005).
Antonioli et al. (2009) reviewed sea-level markers along the Italian and Istrian (western Slovenian and northwest Croatian) coastlines, and counted 127 studies containing different RSL markers. Other areas where a significant focus on the topic has resulted in a number of studies related to Holocene RSL markers carried out include Greece, Spain and France. The southern part of the basin is characterized by coastal zones where data are lacking or published locally, and are therefore not widely available.
In the Mediterranean, different source data have been used used to reconstruct RSLs including biological markers (cf. Laborel and Laborel-Deguen, 1994), sedimentological (cf. Dubar and Anthony, 1995),geomorphological (Pirazzoli, 1996) and archaeological (cf. Auriemma and Solinas, 2009; see also Galili and Rosen, 2011 for early Holocene data from the eastern Mediterranean). Much greater amounts of published data exists and such literature, still rapidly growing, has led to the obvious consequence of fragmented information. As such, data are only occasionally reviewed with reference to specific location, but not as a whole, since there has never been a concerted effort to compile this into an organic, yet central database which could then be analysed on a truly ‘Mediterranean scale’.
Antonioli, F., Ferranti, L., Fontana, A., Amorosi, A., Bondesan, A., Braitenberg, C., Dutton, A., Fontolan, G., Furlani, S., Lambeck, K., Mastronuzzi, G., Monaco, C., Spada, G., Stocchi, P., 2009. Holocene relative sea-level changes and vertical movements along the Italian and Istrian coastlines. Quaternary International 206, 102–133.
Auriemma, R., Solinas, E., 2009. Archaeological remains as sea level change markers: A review. Quaternary International 206, 134–146.
Dubar, M., Anthony, E.J., 1995. Holocene Environmental Change and River-Mouth Sedimentation in the Baie des Anges, French Riviera. Quaternary Research 43, 329–343.
Galili, E and Rosen, B. 2011. Submerged Neolithic Settlements off the Carmel Coast, Israel: cultural and environmental insights. In: Benjamin, J., Bonsall, C., Pickard, C., Fischer, A. (eds) Submerged Prehistory. Oxford: Oxbow. 272-286
Kershaw, S., Guo, L., 2001. Marine notches in coastal cliffs: indicators of relative sea-level change, Perachora Peninsula, central Greece. Marine Geology 179, 213–228.
Laborel, J., Laborel-Deguen, F., 1994. Biological Indicators of Relative Sea-Level Variations and of Co- Seismic Displacements in the Mediterranean Region. Journal of Coastal Research 10, 395–415.
Lambeck, K., Antonioli, F., Anzidei, M., Ferranti, L., Leoni, G., Scicchitano, G., Silenzi, S., 2011. Sea level change along the Italian coast during the Holocene and projections for the future. Quaternary International 232, 250–257.
Pirazzoli, P.A., 1996. Sea-level changes: the last 20,000 years. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Pirazzoli, P.A., 2005. A review of possible eustatic, isostatic and tectonic contributions in eight late-Holocene relative sea-level histories from the Mediterranean area. Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 1989–2001.
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