Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Clim. Past, 12, 1389-1400, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-1389-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Jun 2016
Extreme storms during the last 6500 years from lagoonal sedimentary archives in the Mar Menor (SE Spain)
Laurent Dezileau1, Angel Pérez-Ruzafa2, Philippe Blanchemanche3, Jean-Philippe Degeai3, Otmane Raji1,4, Philippe Martinez5, Concepcion Marcos2, and Ulrich Von Grafenstein6 1Geosciences Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, CNRS, UMR 5243, Montpellier, France
2Departamento de Ecologia e Hidrologia, Regional Campus of International Excellence “Campus Mare Nostrum”, Universidad de Murcia, Murcia 30100, Spain
3Laboratoire d'Archéologie des Sociétés Méditerranéennes, Université Montpellier 3, CNRS, UMR 5140, Montpellier, France
4Department of Earth Sciences, Université MohammedV-Agdal, Rabat, Morocco
5Université Bordeaux 1, EPOC, CNRS, UMR 5805, Bordeaux, France
6Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CNRS/CEA, Saclay, France
Abstract. Storms and tsunamis, which may seriously endanger human society, are amongst the most devastating marine catastrophes that can occur in coastal areas. Many such events are known and have been reported for the Mediterranean, a region where high-frequency occurrences of these extreme events coincides with some of the most densely populated coastal areas in the world. In a sediment core from the Mar Menor (SE Spain), we discovered eight coarse-grained layers which document marine incursions during periods of intense storm activity or tsunami events. Based on radiocarbon dating, these extreme events occurred around 5250, 4000, 3600, 3010, 2300, 1350, 650, and 80 years cal BP. No comparable events have been observed during the 20th and 21st centuries. The results indicate little likelihood of a tsunami origin for these coarse-grained layers, although historical tsunami events are recorded in this region. These periods of surge events seem to coincide with the coldest periods in Europe during the late Holocene, suggesting a control by a climatic mechanism for periods of increased storm activity. Spectral analyses performed on the sand percentage revealed four major periodicities of 1228 ± 327, 732 ± 80, 562 ± 58, and 319 ± 16 years. Amongst the well-known proxies that have revealed a millennial-scale climate variability during the Holocene, the ice-rafted debris (IRD) indices in the North Atlantic developed by Bond et al. (1997, 2001) present a cyclicity of 1470 ± 500 years, which matches the 1228 ± 327-year periodicity evidenced in the Mar Menor, considering the respective uncertainties in the periodicities. Thus, an in-phase storm activity in the western Mediterranean is found with the coldest periods in Europe and with the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. However, further investigations, such as additional coring and high-resolution coastal imagery, are needed to better constrain the main cause of these multiple events.

Citation: Dezileau, L., Pérez-Ruzafa, A., Blanchemanche, P., Degeai, J.-P., Raji, O., Martinez, P., Marcos, C., and Von Grafenstein, U.: Extreme storms during the last 6500 years from lagoonal sedimentary archives in the Mar Menor (SE Spain), Clim. Past, 12, 1389-1400, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-1389-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Amongst the most devastating marine catastrophes that can occur in coastal areas are storms and tsunamis, which may seriously endanger human society. In a sediment core from the Mar Menor (SE Spain), we discovered eight coarse-grained layers which document marine incursions during periods of intense storm activity or tsunami events. These periods of surge events seem to coincide with the coldest periods in Europe during the late Holocene, suggesting a control by a climatic mechanism.
Amongst the most devastating marine catastrophes that can occur in coastal areas are storms and...
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