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Connections between the Rhône River and its delta (part 2) : changes in the Rhône delta coastline since the beginning of the 18th century


Journal title : Géomorphologie
Volume : 2
Pagination : 125-140
Publication date : 01/06/2006

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/DEI/SESURE/LERCM

Authors > MAILLET Grégoire, PROVANSAL Mireille, SABATIER François, VELLA Claude

Publication Date > 01/06/2006

Summary

On the shores of the Rhône delta, only beaches close to the river mouth benefit from direct terrigeneous input. In order to understand the mechanisms of river sediment discharge distribution at the coastline, our work uses a large historic data base to compare the maximum distances separating two consecutive historic coast lines. Near the active mouth and during the last two centuries, an analysis of average and maximum shifts in coastline position shows a general decline of active lobe progradation rates, with highly irregular rates of shorter-term coastline fluctuation embedded within this trend. Erosion of the lobe is observed only during the second half of the 20th century. Using a qualitative approach, variations in the position of the coastline are explained by two independent causes: external forcing factors such as the human impact and climate, which control the volume, nature and grain size of the sediment output ; but also an autocyclic component, which is linked to the interaction between submarine parameters such as accomodation space, sedimentation rate, and river channel response through avulsion. It appears that the decrease in sediment discharge of the Rhône River over the last 200 years has not influenced the growth of the active submarine lobe, but affects its vulnerability

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