New relative sea-level insights into the isostatic history of the Western Mediterranean

Matteo Vacchi, Matthieu Ghilardi, Rita T. Melis, Giorgio Spada, Matthieu Giaime, Nick Marriner, Thomas Lorscheid, Christophe Morhange, Francesc Burjachs, Alessio Rovere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent suite of Relative Sea-Level (RSL) data for the past 12 ka BP has provided new insights into the sea-level histories of the western Mediterranean region. Our analysis of the chronostratigraphic context of sea-level indicators from Spain (Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Gulf of Valencia), France (Corsica Island) and Italy (Sardinia Island) has yielded 162 new sea-level index and limiting points. These data have considerably enhanced previous RSL compilations, in addition to improving the quality of spatio-temporal sea-level reconstructions and our capacity to estimate isostatic-related vertical motions in the western Mediterranean basin. The glacial and hydro-isostatic adjustment (GIA) pattern elucidated by the new database shows discrepancy with respect to those predicted by the available GIA models. In particular, the new results underscore a non-coherent isostatic response of the central portion of the western Mediterranean, with the Balearic Islands manifesting significant departures from the sea-level histories of Corsica, Sardinia and, more generally, along most of the western Mediterranean coast. Our results are a crucial contribution to defining both the pattern and the magnitude of the isostatic signal along the western Mediterranean coast. In fact, vertical isostatic motions represent a key to better assess any possible post-industrial acceleration in sea-level rise and to define future scenarios of coastal inundation in the context of global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-408
Number of pages13
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Holocene
  • Isostatic adjustment
  • Mediterranean sea
  • Sea-level changes
  • Vertical crustal motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'New relative sea-level insights into the isostatic history of the Western Mediterranean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this