Glacio and hydro-isostasy in the Mediterranean Sea: Clark’s zones and role of remote ice sheets

Main Article Content

P. Stocchi
G. Spada


Solving the sea-level equation for a spherically symmetric Earth we study the relative sea-level curves in the
Mediterranean Sea in terms of Clarks zones and we explore their sensitivity to the time-history of Late-Pleistocene
ice aggregates. Since the Mediterranean is an intermediate field region with respect to the former ice
sheets, glacio- and hydro-isostasy both contribute to sea-level variations throughout the Holocene. In the bulk of
the basin, subsidence of the sea floor results in a monotonous sea-level rise, whereas along continental margins
water loading produces the effect of «continental levering», which locally originates marked highstands followed
by a sea-level fall. To describe such peculiar pattern of relative sea-level in this and other mid-latitude closed
basins we introduce a new Clarks zone (namely, Clarks zone VII). Using a suite of publicly available ice sheet
chronologies, we identify for the first time a distinct sensitivity of predictions to the Antarctic ice sheet. In particular,
we show that the history of mid to Late Holocene sea-level variations along the coasts of SE Tunisia may
mainly reflect the melting of Antarctica, by a consequence of a mutual cancellation of the effects from the Northern
Hemisphere ice-sheets at this specific site. Ice models incorporating a delayed melting of Antarctica may account
for the observations across the Mediterranean, but fail to reproduce the SE Tunisia highstand.

Article Details

How to Cite
Stocchi P, Spada G. Glacio and hydro-isostasy in the Mediterranean Sea: Clark’s zones and role of remote ice sheets. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2007Dec.25 [cited 2024Feb.25];50(6). Available from:

Most read articles by the same author(s)