Large volumes of peatland deposits characterise the Holocene stratigraphy of the Po Plain. A combination of sedimentological and pollen-based paleoenvironmental analyses enables recognition and stratigraphic correlation of small-scale (2–5 m thick) packages of peat-bearing strata, stacked rhythmically in a retrogradational to progradational set and bounded by chronostratigraphically significant surfaces. Across these repetitive lithofacies successions, the proportion of facies-controlled palynomorphs is used as a diagnostic signature to characterise marine flooding surface equivalents (helophytes and hydrophytes) and shoaling-upward (terrestrialization) trends (trees and mesophilous herbs) that record systematic variations in groundwater table associated with increasing/decreasing accommodation. Paludification surfaces at the base of peats delineate the updip (freshwater) equivalents of brackish/marine flooding surfaces recognized at seaward locations atop peat layers (give-up transgressive surfaces). Peat beds exhibit maximum thickness in aggradational strata of the lowermost highstand systems tract, above the maximum flooding surface (MFS). An extrinsic control due to eustatic rise can be inferred for peat development in transgressive deposits: peats, in particular, reveal warmer climates at flooding surfaces (specifically around the MFS) that invariably coincide with rapid shifts to deeper depositional environments. Under highstand conditions, autogenic mechanisms affected base-level changes in the paralic swamps. At this stratigraphic level, peat-bearing strata primarily reflect subtle changes in accommodation due to distributary-channel avulsion, subsidence, and peat autocompaction. Detailed patterns of Holocene peat distribution on millennial timescales can help decipher multiple high-resolution accommodation cycles developed in the rock record on sub-seismic scales, resulting in an improved stratigraphic analysis and prediction of chronologically less constrained non-marine successions.
Tracing marine flooding surface equivalents across freshwater peats and other wetland deposits by integrated sedimentological and pollen data / Amorosi, A.; Bruno, L.; Cacciari, M.; Campo, B.; Rossi, V.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COAL GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0166-5162. - 246:(2021), pp. N/A-N/A. [10.1016/j.coal.2021.103830]