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COI Funded Project: Reconstructing Shoreline Changes in Danube Delta

Project Funded: 2003
Keywords: Shoreline Dynamics, River Deltas, Wave Climate, Sea Level Changes, Black Sea, Stratigraphy, Danube River

Proposed Research

The abundant resources of river deltas have made them important for human civilizations; however, deltas are now in peril due to a variety of human pressures. In this study the specific threat of increase in wave dominance will be addressed. Higher energy waves are hitting most coasts as a consequence of a climate change-induced increase in storminess. We want to understand in detail how a delta evolves in a regime of extreme wave-dominance. In Danube delta evolution of several lobes under wave-dominance has strongly influenced shoreline dynamics and coastal human civilizations from ancient Greek colonies till today. We will explore the temporal evolution of the delta by subsurface imaging with a ground-penetrating radar and by dating basal peats recovered by coring. The apparent architectural simplicity of Danube delta's asymmetric lobes makes it a valuable test case for the nascent deltaic numerical models. Moreover, the same simplicity and continuity of sedimentation in a strongly prograding environment makes the Danube delta a potential prime paleoevironmental archive.

We propose to provide an initial chronostratigraphy by dating basal peats recovered in Danube Delta by coring and augering. The land-based component of this study will also include subsurface imaging via a ground-penetrating radar. Wave dominance in Danube Delta evolution has strungly influenced shoreline dynamics and coastal human civilizations since ancient times and presents a good an alog for deltaic shoreline dynamics in the conditions of increased wave-dominance and reduced river sediment discharge. The apparent stratigraphical simplicity of Danube delta's asymmetric lobes makes it a valuable test case for the nascent deltaic numerical models. Moreover, the same simplicity and continuity of sedimentation in a strongly prograding environment makes the Danube Delta a potential prime paleoenvironmental archive. However, the chronology of the delta development is largely unconstrained, hampering these opportunities.

Originally published: January 25, 2003