Prodeltaic Undulations and Hyperpycnal Flows (II): Evolutionary Trends

  • Francisco José LoboEmail author
  • Patricia Bárcenas
  • Isabel Mendes
  • Miguel Ortega-Sánchez
  • Jorge Macías
  • Luis Miguel Fernández-Salas


Undulation fields found on Mediterranean prodeltaic slopes usually display sub-surface precursory features recognized through seismic profiling and sediment core data. In this contribution we examine the stratigraphic patterns of sub-surface undulations occurring in wedge-shaped Holocene deposits that are in agreement with the episodic activity of hyperpycnal flows. Shallow sub-surface undulation facies show two fundamental features: lateral continuity of reflections and upward migration trends. Upward evolutionary trends may also be observed at the scale of the entire prodeltaic wedges. The most simple cases document repeated wavy stratified patterns or upward transition from sub-parallel to undulate. In some cases, however, the upward evolution can be very complex, with several stages ranging from non-development of undulations to pronounced wave migration, in addition to intermediate aggradational stages. Sedimentologically, sets of undulations exhibit variations between coarse and fine fractions. The sub-surface stratigraphic patterns of prodeltaic undulations are suggestive of enhanced development during evolving environmental conditions, mediated by the alternation of wet and dry climates characteristic of Mediterranean regions. Those conditions would have eventually favoured the activity of episodic hyperpycnal flows. Lateral changes of the internal undulation patterns also reveal the modification of fluvial flows and their imprint in the submarine environment.


Prodeltaic undulations Wave migration Hyperpycnal flows Holocene Mediterranean sea 



This chapter is a contribution to the projects MOSAICO (P06-RNM-01594) and TESELA (P11-787 RNM7069) funded by the “Junta de Andalucía”, and it is also related to project CGL2011-30302-C02-02 funded by the Spanish Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness. Isabel Mendes thanks the Portuguese Science Foundation (FCT) for grant SFRH/BPD/72869/2010. The manuscript was improved thanks to useful comments and suggestions made by Roger Urgeles (CSIC-Institut de Ciències del Mar, Barcelona, Spain) and by an anonymous reviewer.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco José Lobo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricia Bárcenas
    • 2
  • Isabel Mendes
    • 3
  • Miguel Ortega-Sánchez
    • 4
  • Jorge Macías
    • 2
  • Luis Miguel Fernández-Salas
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la TierraCSIC-Universidad de GranadaArmilla, GranadaSpain
  2. 2.Dpto. Análisis Matemático, Facultad de CienciasMálagaSpain
  3. 3.CIMAUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  4. 4.Andalusian Institute for Earth System ResearchUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  5. 5.Instituto Español de OceanografíaCentro Oceanográfico de CádizCádizSpain

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