Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Holocene Environmental Change and River-Mouth Sedimentation in the Baie des Anges, French Riviera

  • Michel Dubar (a1) and Edward J. Anthony (a2)

Abstract

River mouths on the steep, high-relief coast of the French Riviera exhibit thick sequences of Holocene marine, estuarine, deltaic, and river channel-floodplain sediments that overlie basal fluvial Pleistocene gravel. Gravel is uncommon in most of the early to middle Holocene aggradational-progradational marine, estuarine, deltaic sediments, despite an ample supply from rock units in the steep adjoining uplands. River-mouth gravel is common only in late Holocene river channels and in barrier beaches perched on finer-grained nearshore sediments. Neither downslope grain-size fining on alluvial fans nor sediment stacking patterns during sea-level (base-level) rise readily account for the lack of early to middle Holocene gravel in the river-mouth sediment wedges. Holocene sea-level rise led to the storage of fine-grained sediments in shallow marine, estuarine, and deltaic environments in the present coastal zone. We infer that humid temperate conditions, a dense forest cover, landscape stabilization, and a regular quiescent river flow regime associated with the Atlantic climatic optimum limited gravel supply in the adjoining catchments and gravel entrainment downstream during the early Holocene. Sea-level stabilization in the middle and late Holocene coincided with a marked change in bioclimatic conditions toward the present Mediterranean-type regime, which is characterized by a less dense forest cover, soil erosion, and episodic catastrophic floods. The late Holocene was thus a time of downstream bedload channel aggradation, fine-grained floodplain and paludal sedimentation, and seaward flushing of clasts leading to the formation and consolidation of the gravel barrier beaches that bound the rivermouths and embayments.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Aloisi, J. Monaco, A. Planchais, N. Thommeret, J., and Thommeret, Y., 1978. The Holocene transgression in the Golfe du Lion, southwestern France: paleogeographic and paleobotanical evolution. G4ographie Physique Quaternaire 32, 145163.
Anthony, E. J., 1993. Preliminary investigations of gravel barrier development in the Baie des Anges, French Riviera. In Proceedings of the International Coastal Congress, Kiel, pp. 4857. Peter Lang, Frankfurt.
Anthony, E. J. Jagoudet, P., and Perez, S., 1994. Gravel beach stabilization measures in the Baie des Anges, Cdte d’Azur, France. Cahiers Nantais, 41-42, 145152.
Bellaiche, G. Vergnaud-Grazzini, C., and Glangeaud, L., 1969. Les episodes de la transgression flandrienne dans le golfe de Fr£jus. Comptes-Rendus de I’Academie des Sciences de Paris 268, 27652770.
Berger, A., 1992. “Le Climat de la Terre—Un passg pour quel avenir?” De Boeck University, Brussels.
Binder, D., 1990. Probtemes relatifs & la chronologie de l’Epipalolithique et du Niolithique dans les Alpes-Maritimes. Bulletin d’Etudes Prdhistoriques et Archdologiques Alpines Volume Special, 5dme Colloque d’ArcWologie, Aoste, pp. 2738.
Blum, M. D., 1990. Climatic and eustatic controls on Gulf Coastal Plain Fluvial sedimentation: An example from the Late Quaternary of the Colorado River, Texas. In “Sequence Stratigraphy as an Exploratory Tool: Concepts and Practices in the Gulf Coast” (Armentrout, J. M., Ed.), pp. 7183. Proceedings of the 1990 Research Conference, Gulf Coast Section of the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists.
Blum, M. D., 1994. Genesis and architecture of incised valley fill sequences, a late Quaternary example from the Colorado River, Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas. In “Siliciclastic sequence Stratigraphy— Recent Developments and Applications” (Weimer, P. and Posamentier, H. W., Eds.), pp. 259283. AAPM Memoir 58.
Blum, M. D., and Valastro, S. Jr., 1994. Late Quaternary sedimentation, lower Colorado River, Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas. Geological Society of America Bulletin 106, 10021016.
Bravard, J. P., 1992. Les rythmes devolution morphologique des valines frangaises au Tardiglaciaire et k 1’Holocene. Rapport 2. Bulletin de VAssociation des Geographes Frangais, 3, 207226.
Bridge, J. S., 1984. Large scale facies sequences in alluvial overbank environments. Journal of Sedimentary Petrolology 54, 583588.
Carter, R. W. G. Forbes, D. L. Jennings, S. C. Orford, J. D. Shaw, J., and Taylor, R. B., 1989. Barrier and lagoon coast evolution under differing sea-level regimes: examples from Ireland and Nova Scotia. Marine Geology 88, 221242.
Collinson, J. D., 1986. Alluvial sediments. In “Sedimentary Environments and Facies” (Reading, H. G., Ed.), pp. 2062. Blackwell, Oxford.
Dairymple, R. W. Zaitlin, B. A., and Boyd, R., 1992. Estuarine facies models: conceptual basis and stratigraphic implications. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 62, 11301146.
Damblon, F. Dubar, M. Nicol-Pichard, S., and Vemet, J. L., 1988. Pal6o6cologie du pays niois k la fin de la Priode atlantique. Institut Frangais de Pondichery, Section Sciences Techniques 25, 1125.
de, Beaulieu, J. L., 1977. “Contribution pollenanalytique a l’histoire tardiglaciaire et holoc£ne de la vegetation des Alpes Maritimes franchises.” Unpublished Thesis, Doctorat d’Etat, University d’Aix-Marseille.
Dubar, M., 1987. Donnies nouvelles sur la transgression holoc£ne dans la region de Nice (France). Bulletin de la Societe Geologique de France 8, 195198.
Dubar, M., 1988. La s6rie transgressive cotifcre holocdne de la region de Nice, un module sedimentaire. Bulletin de V Association Franca is e pour I’Etude du Quaternaire 1, 1115.
Dubar, M. Damblon, F. Nicol-Pichard, S. Vemet, J. L. Chaix, L. Cataliotti, J. Irr, F., and Babinot, J. F., 1986. L’environnement cotier des Alpes-Maritimes a la fin de la transgression versilienne d’aprtis l’e6tude biostratigraphique du site de l’Etoile a Nice (France). Revue de Paleobiologie 5, 289310.
Dubar, M. Guglielmi, Y., and Falguferes, C., 1992. N6otectonique et sedimentation cottere quatemaires en bordure de 1’Arc Subalpin de Nice (A. M., France). Quaternaire 3, 105110.
Elliot, J. D., 1986. Deltas. In “Sedimentary Environments and Facies” (Reading, H. G., Ed.), pp. 113154. Blackwell, Oxford.
Gennesseaux, M., 1962. Les canyons de la Baie des Anges, leur remplissage sedimentaire, leur r61e dans la sedimentation profonde. Comptes-Rendus de /’Acadtmie des Sciences de Paris 254, 24092411.
Gennesseaux, M., and Thommeret, , 1968. Datation par le radiocarbone de quelques sediments sous-marins de la region nioise. Revue de Geographie physique et de geologie dynamique 10, 375382.
Graf, J. B. Webb, R. H., and Hereford, R., 1991. Relation of sediment load and floodplain formation to climatic variability. Parai River drainage basin, Utah and Arizona. Geological Society of America Bulletin 103, 14051415.
Guglielmi, Y., and Dubar, M., 1993. Analyse morphostructurale du Bassin plio-quatemaire du Var (Alpes-Maritimes, France) et confrontation avec les donnes de la neotectonique. Bulletin de I’Institut Geologique du Bassin d’Aquitaine 53, 7783.
Haddad, N., 1980. “Etude geophysique par sondages eiectriques. Donnies hydrogologiques dans la basse valiee de la Brague (Alpes Maritimes, France).” Unpublished Thesis, Doctorat de 3£me Cycle, University de Nice.
Jorda, M., 1980. Morphogenfcse et 6 volution des pay sages dans les Alpes de Haute-Provence depuis le tardiglaciaire: Facteurs naturels et anlhropiques. Bulletin de [‘Association des Giographes Frunouts 472, 295304.
Julian, M., 1980. “Les Alpes-Maritimes Franco-Italiennes—Etude Geomorphologique.” Atelier Reproduction des These, Lille.
Julian, M., and Anthony, E. J., 1993. Landslides and climatic variables, with specific reference to the Maritime Alps of southwestern France. In “Temporal Occurrence and Forecasting of Landslides in the European Community—Final Report” (Brunsden, D., Ed.), pp. 697721, European Community Programme Epoch Contract 90 0025, Strasbourg.
Julian, M., and Anthony, E. J., in press. Aspects of landslide activity in the Mercantour Massif and the French Riviera, southeastern France. Geomorphology.
Koss, J. E. Ethridge, F. G., and Schumm, S. A., 1994. An experimental study of the effects of base-level change on fluvial, coastal plain and shelf systems. Journal of Sedimentary Research B 64, 9098.
Leopold, L. B., and Bull, B. W., 1979. Base level, aggradation and grade. American Philosophical Society Proceedings 123, 168202.
Leopold, L. B., and Wolman, M. G., 1957. River channel patterns: Braided, meandering and straight. U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 282B.
L’Homer, A., 1980. Quaternaire—Precontinent et littoraux. In “Synthdse geologique du sud-est de la France” (Debrand-Passard, S., Ed.), pp. 559561, Memoir BRGM 125.
Mascle, J., and Rehault, J. P., 1991. Le destin de la M6diterran6e. La Recherche 229, 188196.
Miall, A. D., 1991. Stratigraphic sequences and their chronostratigraphic correlation. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 61, 497505.
Nanson, G., 1986. Episodes of vertical accretion and catastrophic stripping: a model of disequilibrium floodplain development. Geological Society of America Bulletin 97, 14671475.
Nemec, W., 1990a. Deltas—remarks on terminology and classification. In “Coarse-Grained Deltas” (Colella, A. and Prior, D. B., Eds.), pp. 312. IAS Special Publication 10.
Nemec, W., 1990b. Aspects of sediment movement on steep delta slopes. In “Coarse-Grained Deltas” (Colella, A. and Prior, D. B., Eds.), pp. 2973. IAS Special Publication 10.
Nummedal, D. Riley, G. W., and Templet, P. L., 1993. High-resolution sequence architecture: a chronostratigraphic model based on equilibrium profile studies. In “Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations” (Posamentier, H. W. Summerhayes, C. P. Haq, B. U., and Allen, G. P., Eds.), pp. 5568. IAS Special Publication 18.
Orford, J. D. Carter, R. W. G., and Jennings, S. C., 1991. Coarse clastic barrier environments: evolution and implications for Quaternary sea level interpretation. Quaternary International 9, 87104,
Orton, G. J., and Reading, H. G., 1993. Variability of deltaic processes in terms of sediment supply, with particular emphasis on grain size. Sedimentology 40, 475512.
Patzelt, G., 1974. Holocene variations of glaciers in the Alps. In “Les Mdthodes quantitatives d’Etudes des Variations du Climat au cours du Pleistocene” pp. 5159, International Symposium, CNRS, Gifsur-Yvette.
Pichard, S., in press. Pollen analysis of a 66 meter Tardi-Glacial and Holocene period series, Brague Valley, Biot, Alpes Maritimes, France. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology.
Pirazzoli, P. A., 1991. “World Atlas of Holocene Sea-Level Changes.” Elsevier Oceanography Series, Vol. 58, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Pline, C., 1991. “Contribution a l’etude geologique, hydrog£ologique et gdotechnique de la basse plaine alluvialedu Paillon (Alpes Maritimes, France).” Unpublished Thesis, Doctorat, University de Nice.
Posamentier, H. W., and James, D. P., 1993. An overview of sequence stratigraphic concepts: Uses and abuses. In “Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations (Posamentier, H. W. Summerhayes, C. P. Haq, B. U., and Allen, G. P., Eds.), pp. 318. IAS Special Publication 18.
Posamentier, H. W., and Vail, P. R., 1988. Eustatic controls on clastic deposition II—Sequence and systems tract models. In “Sea Level Change—An Integrated Approach” (Wilgus, C. K. Hastings, B. S. St., C. G. Kendall, C. Posamentier, H. W. Ross, C. A. and Van Wagoner, J. C., Eds.), pp. 125154. SEPM Special Publication 42.
Postma, G., 1990. Depositional architecture and facies of river and fan deltas: A synthesis. In “Coarse-Grained Deltas” (Cole 11a, A. and Prior, D, B., Eds.), pp. 1327. IAS Special Publication 10.
Prior, D. B., and Bornhold, B. D., 1990. The underwater development of Holocene fan deltas. In “Coarse-Grained Deltas” (Colella, A. and Prior, D. B., Eds.), pp. 7590. IAS Special Publication 10.
Reading, H. G., 1986. Facies. In “Sedimentary Environments and Facies” (Reading, H. G, Ed), pp. 419, Blackwell, Oxford.
Sage, L., 1976. “La s6dimentation a l’embouchure d’un fleuve cfitier m£diterran6en: Le Var.” Unpublished Thesis, Doctoral de 36me Cycle, Universit6 de Nice.
Savoye, B., and Piper, D. J. W., 1993. Quaternary sea-level change and sedimentation on the continental shelf and slope of Antibes, French Riviera. Geo-Marine Letters 13, 28.
Schumm, S. A., 1973. Geomorphic thresholds and the complex response of drainage systems. In “Fluvial Geomorphology” (Morisawa, M., Ed.), pp. 299310. Publications in Geomorphology, State University of New York, Binghamton.
Schumm, S. A., 1993. River response to baselevel change: Implications for sequence stratigraphy. Journal of Geology 101, 279294.
Schumm, S. A., and Kahn, H. R., 1972. Experimental study of channel pattern. Geological Society of America Bulletin 83, 17551770.
Starkel, L., 1983. The reflection of hydrologic changes in the fluvial environment of the temperate zone during the last 15,000 years. In“Background to Palaeohydrology” (Gregory, K. J., Ed.), pp. 213235. Wiley, London.
Starkel, L., 1987. The evolution of European rivers—A complex response. In “Palaeohydrology in Practice” (Gregory, K. J. Lewin, J., and Thornes, J. B., Eds.), pp. 333338. Wiley London.
Starkel, L., 1991. Characteristics of the temperate zone and fluvial palaeohydrology. In “Temperate Palaeohydrology” (Starkel, L. Gregory, K. J., and Thornes, J. B, Eds.), pp. 312. Wiley, London.
Th6venin, J., 1981. “Le fleuve Var en aval de Plan du Var et les nappes alluviales.” Direction Departementale de I’Agriculture de Nice.
Walling, D. E., and Webb, B. W., 1983. Patterns of sediment yield. In“Background to Palaeohydrology” (Gregory, K. J., Ed.), pp. 69100. Wiley, London.
Watts, W. A., 1986. Stages of climatic changes from full glacial to Holocene in Northwest Spain, Southern France and Italy: A comparison of the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Basin. In “Current Issues in Climate Research” (Ghazi, A. and Fantechi, R., Eds.), pp. 101112. Reidel, Dordrecht,
Wright, V. P., and Marriott, S. B., 1993. The sequence stratigraphy of fluvial depositional systems: The role of floodplain sediment storage. Sedimentary Geology 86, 203210.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed