Lechaion's ancient harbor is now a coastal swamp filled with sediments. Two natural factors explain the harbor's abandonment: (1) tectonic uplift during historical times and (2) the location of the harbor basin in a serpentine depression protected from the sea. Although it undoubtedly functioned as a very efficient sediment trap, only modest sedimentation rates (<1 mm/yr) have been measured in the basin. This paradox suggests that the basin was dredged and that the extracted sediments were dumped, forming a number of mounds around the harbor edges. The transition from marine organics to silt is dated to 750-400 cal. B.C. and precedes the 1.2 m uplift of the harbor at around 340 B.C., which underscores the minimal impact of tectonic forcing factors. The presence of fine-grained sediments is consistent with an increasingly protected environment. The macrofauna indicate a low-energy environment enriched with organic matter and brackish conditions. All data suggest that this environment became isolated from the sea. Although a seismic uplift around 340 B.C. played a partial role in the evolution of the harbor, it is not the sole natural forcing agent involved in the silting up of the basin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)