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Prehistory and coastal karst area: Cosquer Cave and the “Calanques” of Marseille

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Author(s): Collina-Girard,J.

Journal: Speleogenesis and Evolution of Karst Aquifers
ISSN 1814-294X

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 3265;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Prehistory | karst | Cosquer Cave | fossil shorelines | France.

ABSTRACT
The Cosquer Cave is a French Palaeolithic painted and engraved cave (27.000-18.500 BP), which is located under the sea, in the Urgonian limestones of Cap Morgiou (“Massif des Calanques”, Marseille). The entrance was submerged at the end of the Last Glacial Stage and is presently 37 m under sea level. A synthesis about the Cosquer Cave environmental studies is presented here. Structural studies show that caves planimetry is determined by Cap Morgiou jointing (mainly NW-SE and N-S vertical faults). Through archaeological studies, a speleothem breaking period can be dated between 27.000 and 18.000 BP. Geomorphologic study of the continental shelf at the foot of the Cosquer Cave area shows fossil shorelines at -36 m, -50/55 m, -90 m, -100 m depth. Radiocarbon dating from shells collected in -100m sediments yielded a date of 13.250 BP. Direct scuba diving observations and submarine cliff profiles sket­ching show several eustatic still stand­ levels between -36m and the current sea surface indicating a probable tectonic stability during the last 10.000 years.

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