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Journal Article

Quantitative Bathymetric Models for Late Quaternary Transgressive-Regressive Cycles of the Po Plain, Italy

Jacalyn M. Wittmer, Troy A. Dexter, Daniele Scarponi, Alessandro Amorosi and Michał Kowalewski
The Journal of Geology
Vol. 122, No. 6 (November 2014), pp. 649-670
DOI: 10.1086/677901
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/677901
Page Count: 22
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Quantitative Bathymetric Models for Late Quaternary Transgressive-Regressive Cycles of the Po Plain, Italy
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Abstract

AbstractIn marine settings, quantitative bathymetric models can be developed using various water depth proxies, including epibiont distribution, sedimentologic features, and the distribution of benthic taxa in time and space. Here, the late Quaternary bathymetric history of the Po coastal plain (Italy) has been reconstructed using mollusk samples from a network of 16 cores. Multiple analytical approaches have been applied in a comparative fashion. A direct ordination approach was used to estimate sample bathymetry using weighted averaging of genera with known preferred depth. Weighted averaging carries an advantage of analytical simplicity and produces direct ordination models expressed in environmentally meaningful units. Indirect ordination methods, based on depth estimates developed using posteriori-calibrated ordination strategies (correspondence and detrended correspondence analysis calibrated against present-day bathymetric data), yielded results consistent with weighted averaging. Regardless of the choice of analytical methods, mollusk assemblages yielded bathymetric proxies congruent with independent sequence stratigraphic interpretations derived previously for both Late Pleistocene and Holocene transgressive-regressive cycles. The mollusk-derived proxies quantify spatial bathymetric gradients across the basin and local trends in absolute water depth in response to relative changes in sea level. However, for cores located in the most proximal part of the basin, mollusk-based ordinations failed to provide viable estimates due to inclusion of mixed marine and nonmarine mollusk faunas and scarcity of fossiliferous horizons necessary for adequate quantitative sampling. The multiple analytical approaches cross evaluated in this study consistently suggest that high-resolution quantitative bathymetric estimates can be derived for mollusk samples independent of stratigraphy for fully marine settings. When applied simultaneously to both samples and taxa, these approaches provide a viable strategy for quantifying stratigraphic and paleontological patterns and enhancing interpretations of basin-scale depositional systems.

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