Abstract : Earth's climate oscillated during the Late Quaternary following the major glacial-interglacial cycles. These well-known variations influenced continental and marine sedimentary records worldwide. However, the associated changes of global sea-level and of environmental factors are not precisely documented, neither are their stratigraphic signatures.
The extensive geophysical and sedimentological investigations carried out in the Gulf of Lions (Western Mediterranean) since the early 90's allow us to explore the expanded sedimentary records preserved on this continental margin during the Late Quaternary. The combination of high sediment supply (largely from Alpine glaciers) and significant subsidence favoured an almost continuous record, at the shelf edge, of sedimentary sequences linked to 100 kyr glacio-eustatic and climatic cycles. The Gulf of Lions is therefore an ideal area for calibration of climatic and sea-level variations from the continental margin architecture. First interpreted from seismic data, these sequences have been sampled and analysed by the EC-funded "Promess 1" drilling operation. This high resolution record of the last ca. 500 kyr provides a new, detailed litho- and chrono-stratigraphic framework. It allows a revised high-resolution, tri-dimensional sequence stratigraphic analysis of the margin, based on the integration of the large data set and of well-constrained well data. It also reveals, from an ultra-high resolution multi-proxy analysis of the last glacial cycle (~130 kyr), the stratigraphic and sedimentary imprints of millennium-scale climatic events such as Heinrich events and the cooling Bond cycles. Finally, the quantitative numerical modelling of the last deglacial period evidences the influence of a very high sediment flux and of pulses of sea-level rises (driven by rapid climatic events) on the architecture of the deltaic system.