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Geological development of the Limpopo Shelf (southern Mozambique) during the last sealevel cycle

: Wenau, S.; Preu, B.; Spiess, V.

Volltext ()

Geo-marine letters 40 (2020), Nr.3, S.363-377
ISSN: 0276-0460
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IWES ()

Paleo-shorelines on continental shelves give insights into the complex development of coastlines during sealevel cycles. This study investigates the geologic development of the Limpopo Shelf during the last sealevel cycle using multichannel seismic and acoustic datasets acquired on the shelf in front of the Limpopo River mouth. A detailed investigation of seismic facies, shelf bathymetry, and a correlation to sea level revealed the presence of numerous submerged shorelines on the shelf. These shorelines are characterized by distinct topographic ridges and are interpreted as coastal dune ridges that formed in periods of intermittent sealevel still-/slowstand during transgression. The shorelines are preserved due to periods of rapid sealevel rise (melt water pulses) that led to the overstepping of the dune ridges as well as due to early cementation of accumulated sediments that increased the erosive resistance of the ridges. The high along-shelf variability of the submerged dune ridges is interpreted as a result of pre-existing topography affecting shoreline positions during transgression. The pre-existing topography is controlled by the underlying sedimentary deposits that are linked to varying fluvial sediment input at different points on the shelf. The numerous prominent submerged dune ridges form barriers for the modern fluvial sediment from the Limpopo River and dam sediment on the inner shelf. They may also facilitate along-shelf current-induced sediment transport.