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    You are here:HomeItaly: an Encyclopedia of Quaternary SciencesRelative sea-level changes

    Relative sea-level changes

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    Hot topics in Italian Quaternary Research

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    Realtive Sea-Level ChangesItaly occupies the central portion of the Mediterranean basin and with its N-S elongation displays a variety of coastal environments.

    Rsl is the sum of eustatic, isostatic and tectonic settings: the first is lower than global, the latter varies with location.

    Sedimentological, geomorphological and biological markers allow the reconstruction of relative sea-level variations since the late Pleistocene.

    Using submerged speleothems (with hiatus or marine overgrowth) rsl reconstructions push up to 1.5 Ma. Stable areas, like Sardinia, Tuscany and S Latium are key sites for testing geophysical models, while subsiding and uplifting coasts provide means to investigate the post-LGM transgression in different contexts. Ancient villages and docking sites, which settled along the coast since early civilization (today submerged), provide powerful archaeological markers for deciphering sea-level changes.

    The present anthropic pressure along the Mediterranean is very intense and many cities and 32 coastal plains are endangered by future sea-level rise; Venice and the Po Delta are among the best examples.