Conférence on past sea-level variations

Consequences in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay

by Jean-François Bourillet and Samuel Toucanne

Apart from tidal effects and although apparently stable, sea levels have significantly fluctuated over geologic time. 20 000 years ago, at the peak of the last ice age and repeatedly during the Quaternary period (last 2.6 million years), sea level was 120 metres below its current level. These major sea-level fluctuations have left everlasting traces on the seabed, off the coast of Brittany and on the continent due to deep restructuring of rivers.

From the lowlands of central Europe to the canyons and the abyssal depths of the Bay of Biscay passing through the Channel, we are searching the European continent for traces that will allow geologists to reconstruct the evolution of continental and marine environments of the Quaternary.