Late Holocene marine terraces of the Cartagena region, southern Caribbean: The product of neotectonism or a former high stand in sea-level?



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The detailed stratigraphic survey and paleontological study (mollusks, corals, foraminifera and ostracods) of four low-level, ~3 m, marine terrace sections: Punta Canoas, Manzanillo del Mar, Playa de Oro, and Tierra Bomba Island, from the Cartagena region, southern Caribbean, supplemented with 22 radiocarbon dates, reveals that the northern terraces were deposited as parasequences in a clastic depositional system compared to the Tierra Bomba Island succession that was deposited in a carbonate depositional system between ~3600 and ~1700 cal yrs BP. Drier conditions and the southern location of the ITCZ at about 3 ka triggered stronger easterly Trades and more dynamic southwestward sediment drift fed by the Magdalena River mouth, thus promoting the formation of sand spits that ultimately isolated the Cienaga de Tesca coastal lagoon from the Caribbean Sea. Our estimates support the hypothesis that the present position of the terraces is the product of neotectonism rather than a higher 3 ka, sea-level. Upheaval of the terraces varies between ~3.8 mmyr-1 at Punta Canoas and ~2.2 mmyr-1 at Tierra Bomba to ~1.5 mmyr-1 at Manzanillo del Mar and Playa de Oro terraces. Our study corroborates previous contentions on the role of mud diapirism and the dynamics of the Dique Fault as late Holocene upheaval mechanisms. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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