Paleoflood records from sinkholes using an example from the Ebro River floodplain, northeastern Spain

Francisco Gutiérrez, Mario Zarroca, Carmen Castañeda, Domingo Carbonel, Jesús Guerrero, Rogelio Linares, Carles Roque, Pedro Lucha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2017. This work introduces for the first time the concept of using sinkholes in fluvial valleys as recorders of past floods. The notion is illustrated through the investigation of a complex sinkhole located in a broad floodplain underlain by salt-bearing Cenozoic evaporites. This active sinkhole comprises a large subsidence depression affecting the floodplain and the edge of a terrace, and a nested collapse sinkhole that used to host a sinkhole pond. A borehole drilled in the buried sinkhole pond revealed an ~7.8-m-thick fill that records around 2700 yr of clayey lacustrine deposition interrupted by three types of detrital facies. Two thick pebble gravel beds have been attributed to major high-competence floods: a paleoflood that occurred in Visigothic times (1537-1311 cal yr BP) and the 1961 Great Ebro River Flood, which is the largest event of the instrumental record. A trench dug in the portion of the terrace affected by subsidence exposed a mid-Holocene slack-water paleoflood deposit. The disadvantages and advantages of sinkholes as archives of past flood histories are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
JournalQuaternary Research (United States)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Evaporite karst
  • Paleohydrology
  • Sinkhole lakes
  • Subsidence rate
  • Trenching


Dive into the research topics of 'Paleoflood records from sinkholes using an example from the Ebro River floodplain, northeastern Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this