Late-Quaternary Transgressive and Highstand Deposits of a Deltaic Shelf (Rhône Delta, France)

  1. Henry W. Posamentier3,
  2. Colin P. Summerhayes4,
  3. Bilal U. Haq5 and
  4. George P. Allen6
  1. B. Gensous1,
  2. D. Williamson2 and
  3. M. Tesson1

Published Online: 15 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304015.ch11

Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations

Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations

How to Cite

Gensous, B., Williamson, D. and Tesson, M. (1993) Late-Quaternary Transgressive and Highstand Deposits of a Deltaic Shelf (Rhône Delta, France), in Sequence Stratigraphy and Facies Associations (eds H. W. Posamentier, C. P. Summerhayes, B. U. Haq and G. P. Allen), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304015.ch11

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Plano, Texas, USA

  2. 4

    Godalming, UK

  3. 5

    Washington, DC, USA

  4. 6

    St Remy les Chevreuses, France

Author Information

  1. 1

    Laboratoire de Sédimentologie et Géochimie Marines, Université de Perpignan, Perpignan 66000, France

  2. 2

    Laboratoire de Géologie du Quaternaire, Université d'Aix-Marseille II, Marseille, 13288, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 17 NOV 1993

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632035489

Online ISBN: 9781444304015



  • Late-Quaternary transgressive and highstand deposits of deltaic shelf (Rhone delta, France);
  • Rhone deltaic shelf and geometry and stratal patterns of Quaternary wedges;
  • lithological and sedimentological characteristics of transgressive and highstand deposits;
  • core data from Rhone delta plain - Shell Company and Compagnie Nationale d'Amenagement du Bas-Rhone et du Languedoc;
  • evolution of Rhone delta plain;
  • transgressive parasequences and highstand delta complexes on Rhone continental shelf


Sequence analysis of high-resolution seismic profiles, supplemented by piston core sampling, illustrates the organization and characteristics of late-Quaternary deposits of the Rhône delta plain and adjacent continental shelf. Chronological data, provided by radiocarbon dating and the record of geomagnetic secular variations, allow a tentative correlation with post-glacial relative sea-level fluctuations.

Deposits of the outer continental shelf consist of stacked progradational wedge-shaped units interpreted as ‘shelf-perched’ lowstand wedges (Tesson et al., 1990a). The uppermost wedge is overlain by backstepping parasequences of the post-glacial transgressive systems tract. The highstand systems tract is restricted to the inner shelf and subaerial Rhône delta plain.

Parasequences of the transgressive systems tract that develop on the outer shelf form complex, elongated prograded bodies derived from shoreface erosion of lowstand deposits and on the inner–middle shelf where sand shoals mark the position of ancient barrier shorelines associated with early-Holocene shelf-phase deltas. On the mid–outer shelf, transgressive and lowstand deposits are covered by a thin, discontinuous veneer of hemipelagic muds and relict shelly sands forming a condensed section associated with the post-glacial relative sea-level rise.

Highstand regressive facies have developed since the period of reduced rate of relative sea-level rise at the end of the Holocene. During this period, the Rhône river has built three major delta complexes and prograded about 15 km over the shelf.