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Lower- to Middle Pleistocene flank margin caves at Custonaci (Trapani, NW Sicily) and their relation with past sea levels

Rosario Ruggieri, Jo De Waele



The peninsula of San Vito Lo Capo, 50 km West of Palermo (Sicily), is characterised by the presence of a wide set of evidences of past sea level changes, such as marine terraces, notches, marine and coastal caves with phreatic overgrowths on speleothems, and continental and marine deposits. The exceptional good preservation of these landforms and deposits has been used by different authors for the reconstruction of sea level changes and neotectonic movements. Among the many caves discussed by previous authors, most are of marine origin and can preserve signs of old sea level highstands such as notches and marine or continental sediments. However, two caves in particular, Fantasma Cave and Falesia Rocca Rumena I cave, show evidences to be flank margin caves. Both caves are records of rising and falling sea level, and their position and the correlation with marine terraces suggest them to be around 0.8 and 1.1–1.2 Ma old respectively. This study shows that not all sea level high stands are preserved in the stratigraphical and geomorphological record.
Keywords: telogenetic limestones, coastal karst, mixing zone speleogenesis, sea level changes, Quaternary.


telogenetic limestones; coastal karst; mixing zone speleogenesis; sea level changes; Quaternary

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