Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No S1 (2006)

Marsh development and sea level changes in the Gernika Estuary (southern Bay of Biscay): foraminifers as tidal indicators


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2006.70s1101

Ana Pascual
Universidad del País Vasco/E.H.U. Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Departamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Spain

Julio Rodriguez-Lazaro
Universidad del País Vasco/E.H.U. Facultad de Ciencia y Tecnología, Departamento de Estratigrafía y Paleontología, Spain

Abstract


The ecological distribution of some species of Foraminifera living in estuaries can be used in the interpretation of former coastal lines. There is a close relationship between tide level and the distribution of particular benthic foraminifer species. A characterisation of tide levels based on the benthic foraminifers in four cores from this estuary allowed us to interpret the changes over time in transitional environments during the modern Holocene. The estuary was filled during the last 6500 years following a general accretional model. Marshes have existed in this area for about 4600 years. This model is described for the first time in the area, based on benthic foraminiferal zones. These zones define a general emergence sequence, interrupted by a transgressive marine pulsation. We describe the evolution of marsh sub-environments in relation to the sea-level changes, materialised by a transgressive pulsation which shows an interruption in the accretional process dated 1910 ± 50 BP.

Keywords


foraminifers; palaeoenvironmental evolution; Holocene; Gernika estuary; southern Bay of Biscay

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