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Relative sea level and wave energy changes recorded in a micro-tidal barrier in southern Brazil

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 June 2022

Natália B. Santos*
Affiliation:
Departamento de Geofísica, Observatório Nacional. 77 General José Cristino Street, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20921-400 Brazil
Ernesto L.C. Lavina
Affiliation:
Programa de Pós Graduação em Geologia, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos–UNISINOS. 950 Unisinos Avenue, São Leopoldo, RS, 93022-750 Brazil
Paulo S.G. Paim
Affiliation:
Programa de Pós Graduação em Geologia, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos–UNISINOS. 950 Unisinos Avenue, São Leopoldo, RS, 93022-750 Brazil
Sonia H. Tatumi
Affiliation:
Instituto de Ciências Marinhas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo–USP, Campus Baixada Santista, 136 Silva Jardim Street, Santos, SP, 11015-020 Brazil
Márcio Yee
Affiliation:
Instituto de Ciências Marinhas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo–USP, Campus Baixada Santista, 136 Silva Jardim Street, Santos, SP, 11015-020 Brazil
Veridiana O. dos Santos
Affiliation:
Instituto Oceanográfico, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande–FURG. Itália Avenue, 8 km–Carreiros Campus Rio Grande, RS, 96203-900 Brazil
Henrique P. Kern
Affiliation:
Programa de Pós Graduação em Geologia, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos–UNISINOS. 950 Unisinos Avenue, São Leopoldo, RS, 93022-750 Brazil
*
*Corresponding author email address: tatabraunsantos@hotmail.com

Abstract

Constructional sedimentary history of coastal barriers can provide insights regarding meteorological and oceanographic processes, and relative sea-level changes. We investigated the Holocene evolution of a segment of the Rio Grande do Sul Coastal Plain in southernmost Brazil. Data were obtained from ground-penetrating radargrams, optically stimulated luminescence dating, altimetry measurements, Google Earth imagery, and aerial photographs. These data allowed a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the beach profiles recorded in the radargrams. From which eolian, backshore/foreshore, breaker bars, and upper and lower shoreface radar facies were identified. The beach-related radar facies are recorded in twenty-eight progradational sand units (sigmoidal bodies). These units record increments of relatively steady deposition bounded by erosional surfaces produced by anomalous, high-magnitude storm events taking place about every 250 years. The upper shoreface strata include two to three breaker bars. Several pieces of evidence (number of breaker bars, upper shoreface gradient and progradation rate) suggest an alternation between dissipative and intermediate stages of barrier morphodynamics and a decrease of wave energy from 2 ka onwards. The barrier prograded during the last 7.1 ka, and initially, barrier progradation occurred because of a normal regression during a relative sea-level rise followed by a stillstand. Later, barrier progradation took place as a forced regression driven by a relative sea-level fall.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2022

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