Dendropoma lower intertidal reef formations and their palaeoclimatological significance, NW Sicily

Fabrizio Antonioli, Renato Chemello, Salvatore Improta, Silvano Riggio

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Most carbonate rocky shores of NW Sicily are marked by a coalescence of shells of the gastropod Dendropoma in a construction that is variably developed as a response to wave impact. Here, we review all the available information on these constructions and find that the fossil reefs are reliable sea-level indicators. The thickness of the reef samples never exceeds 30-40 cm below sea-level, whereas all14C dates fall within a range of few centuries. Some small fragments ejected by violent sea storms date back to 2500 years cal BP. No samples older than 6200 years cal BP have been detected so far. The present distribution of Mediterranean vermetid platforms should result from a northward migration related to the long term effect of the Holocene sea surface temperature (SST) warming. Some consideration on the morphology of the reefs and the comparison with the available data point out that Dendropoma reefs are excellent biological indicators of sea-level fluctuations especially when detected and sampled in tectonically stable areas as those in NW Sicily.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155 - 170
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Geology
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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