Biancini da Silva, A., Barboza, E.G., Rosa, M.L.C.C., Dillenburg, S.R., 2014. Meandering Fluvial System Influencing the Evolution of a Holocene Regressive Barrier in Southern Brazil. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70, pp. 205–210, ISSN 0749-0208.
A meandering fluvial system changes its course according to geological time, eroding rocks and pre-existing deposits and transporting large volumes of sediment to the coastal plains. Understanding the evolution of channels and paleochannels in regions showing coastal barriers and relating them to changes in sea level becomes extremely important to comprehend the factors that contribute to the behavior of coastal barriers. During the Holocene the barrier at Passo de Torres located northeast of the Mampituba River, along the southern coast of Santa Catarina state, prograded approximately 5.5 km. The barrier comprises both foredune ridges, which occur in the landward portion, and transgressive dune ridges, which occur seawards. One feature that stands out in the region is that the regressive barrier morphologies are truncated (eroded) by paleochannels and channels of a meandering fluvial system, which can be related to the dynamics of the Mampituba River. These paleochannels have elongated morphologies with SW – NE orientation and are up to 25 km long. With the purpose of characterizing the longer paleochannels, the geophysical method of ground penetrating radar (GPR) was used, associated with drill hole and radiocarbon dating. The GPR profile reveals continuous reflectors (± 5 m depth) with great contrast and lateral continuity for over 450 m. These represent an erosive surface, interpreted as the base of the fluvial channel. The granulometric results indicate that around 5 m, an increase in grain size (fine sand grading to medium sand) and the presence of several shells. These are very fragmented, characterizing a probable bedload transport. However, shells of the genus Donax sp. were collected intact with no signs of abrasion. This genus inhabits beach environments (specifically foreshore) and cannot survive in freshwater environments. These shells were incorporated to the bedload of the fluvial channel through an inlet, probably during storm surge events. These events carried beach sands, associated with shells (mainly Donax sp.), towards the continent, which were incorporated into the fluvial sediments. The dating of these species revealed an age between 5.6 – 5.4 cal ka. The ages obtained are consistent with the maximum sea level of the Postglacial Marine Transgression (PMT) in southern Brazil. Because these shells are exclusive to beach environments, dating allowed us to infer that this channel was active and had connection with the ocean at about 5.5 ka, concomitant with the maximum sea level of PMT.