CORDIS
EU research results

CORDIS

English EN

The Holocene record of Caspian Sea level change in the offshore Kura delta, Azerbaijan

Project information

Grant agreement ID: INTAS 2005-1000008-8078

  • Start date

    1 January 2007

  • End date

    31 December 2008

Funded under:

IC-INTAS

  • Overall budget:

    € 150 000

  • EU contribution

    € 147 520

Coordinated by:

DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Netherlands

Objective

Past breaks in Caspian sea-level trends caught everyone by surprise. Nobody predicted the sharp fall in the thirties; the sudden sharp rise in 1977 and the sudden fall in 1995, even though in the last case numerous Global Circulation Models and hydrological balances have been run to predict future sea-level behaviour. The problem is that the period, for which instrumental observations exist, since 1834, is too short to validate any model of long-term trends, and the historical record before that is too fragmentary and too contradictory to derive any reliable trend from them. Therefore we aim to obtain better paleodata on past sea-level changes in the Caspian area in the Holocene.

One of the most promising sites that can give information both on the absolute elevation and chronology of highstands and lowstands, as well as a semi-continuous record of paleo-ecological conditions, is the modern delta of the Kura river in the southern Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, a conspicuous fluvial- and wave-dominated delta body protruding offshore until at least -50m water depth. In an earlier project we recognised the traces of two major lowstands and two major highstands in the last 1500 years of the Kura delta history, based on shallow sparker surveys and shallow drilling, sampling and paleoenvironmental analysis. We now want to extend the record further back into the Holocene by an extensive seismic survey, drilling and coring of two deep wells, detailed sedimentological, geochemical, paleoecological and chronological analyses. The data will be integrated in a Petrel geological model, visualised using 3D Inside Reality software, and will be matched with the output of 3-D process-based numerical simulation models to be developed for the Kura delta.

In this way we hope to obtain a much more detailed and much more reliable sea level Holocene curve for the Caspian, and especially for the depth and the timing of the lowstands, which are difficult to study on land. The results are of importance for a better understanding of how global climate change forces Caspian Sea level, and hence for future prediction of Caspian Sea level and its impact on local coastal habitats. As Caspian sea level changes a hundred times as fast as the world's oceans rise, it is a natural laboratory for sea-level change, and the lessons learnt here can be applied everywhere along oceanic coasts. Knowledge of the inner structure of the Kura delta is also of importance for a rational exploitation of the hydrocarbon deposits in Pliocene Paleo-Kura delta sediments, as well as for pipeline construction along the sea bottom in the southern Caspian Sea.

Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator

DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Address

Mijnbouwstraat, 120
Delft

Netherlands

Participants (4)

INSTITUTE OF GEOLOGY OF AZNAS

Azerbaijan

MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY (MGU)

Russia

UNIVERSITEIT GHENT

Belgium

UNIVERSITÉ CLAUDE BERNARD LYON I

France

Project information

Grant agreement ID: INTAS 2005-1000008-8078

  • Start date

    1 January 2007

  • End date

    31 December 2008

Funded under:

IC-INTAS

  • Overall budget:

    € 150 000

  • EU contribution

    € 147 520

Coordinated by:

DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

Netherlands