Quaternary marine terraces on Cyprus : constraints on uplift and pedogenesis, and the geoarchaeology of Palaipafos Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/z603r1518

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  • Numerous flights of Quaternary marine terraces are present around the island of Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean. These terraces are a result of the global eustatic sea-level curve and local tectonism. Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 through MIS 13 terraces are identified, mapped and dated. Palaeoshoreline elevation, an excellent indicator for a past sea–level, and new numerical geochronology are used to calculate an Upper Pleistocene uplift rate for various coastal sectors. Southwestern Cyprus presents the highest uplift rates of 0.35-0.65 mm/year with other sections suggesting uplift of 0.07-0.15 mm/year. This Upper Pleistocene tectonic signal is attributed to an active offshore subduction/collision system to the southwest of Cyprus, evidenced from the seismic activity offshore and the surface expression of a blind thrust fault in the Pafos region. Soil chronosequences and geology in southwestern Cyprus are studied in order to understand the Quaternary development on this uplifting landscape. Soil profile properties are used to calculate a profile development index (PDI), a method often applied to geomorphic surfaces as a relative dating method. Well-developed red and clayey soils occur in the coastal sector, on broad and low-angle surfaces, specifically on marine terraces and alluvial fans. Higher elevations of steep slopes consisting of carbonate and ophiolite lithologies host poorly developed soils. Results show variable PDI's on uplifted terraces, obscured by transported materials, active alluvial fan buildup and hillslope erosion. Calcium carbonate build-up in soil profiles in the form of nodular and laminar accumulations are used as another relative dating method. Geochronology of marine terraces is used as an age range approximation for carbonate stages. Geomorphologic mapping focuses on the southeastern part of the Pafos thrust fault, the only point on the landscape where this otherwise blind fault is exposed on the surface. This is the location of Palaipafos, an important Ancient polity, today the site of the village of Kouklia. Geoarchaeological study suggests little landscape change over the last 4000 years in the vicinity of the urban core of Palaipafos, this being attributed to bedrock and landscape resistance of its location, a plateau at 80 m amsl. Copper deposits in the Palaipafos hinterland had provided a valuable resource at one time. Soil and water resources continue to sustain agriculture.Tectonic uplift in this part of the Pafos thrust fault is estimated to be 2.1mm/year, considered, together with Late Holocene sea-level change responsible for the shifting locations and eventual abandonment of the Palaipafos harbor in the coastal lowlands.
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