New insights on the relative sea level changes during the Late Holocene along the coast of Paros Island and the northern Cyclades (Greece)

Eleni Kolaiti, Nikos Mourtzas


Geomorphological and archaeological indicators of former sea levels along the coast of Paros enabled us to determine and date six distinct sea level stands and the relative sea level (rsl) changes between them, as well as plot the rsl curve for the last 6,300 years.
The Late Holocene history of the rsl change in Paros began with the sea level at 4.90 ± 0.10 m below mean sea level (bmsl) dated to the Late Neolithic period (4300 BC-3700 BC). The next sea level at 3.50 ± 0.20 m bmsl is dated to the Geometric and Archaic period of the Cyclades (1050 BC-490 BC) and most probably lasted during the Hellenistic period (323-146 BC). The sea level at 2.40 ± 0.25 m bmsl is dated to the Roman period (146-400 AD) and the next sea level at 1.35 ± 0.20 m bmsl to the Venetian period of the Cyclades (1207-1537). The sea level at 0.80 ± 0.10 m bmsl is dated to after the Venetian period, during the Ottoman rule of the island (1537-1821). The youngest sea level stand at 0.45 ± 0.10 m is attributed to the recent change in the sea level after the late 19th c. onward. The separation between glacio-hydro-isostatic signals and the observed rsl change on Paros Island, in an area of seismic quiescence, demonstrates a significant tectonic component in the rsl changes. Moreover, the sea level stands deduced from Paros in comparison with those from the northern Cyclades indicate a uniform tectonic behaviour of the entire northern and central section of the Cyclades plateau.


Paros Island, Cyclades, Greece; Late Holocene marine transgression; archaeological sea level indicators; geomorphological sea level indicators; relative sea level curve

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X