Rapid sea level and climate change at the close of the Last Interglaciation (MIS 5e): evidence from the Bahama Islands

Hearty, Paul J., and Neumann, A. Conrad (2001) Rapid sea level and climate change at the close of the Last Interglaciation (MIS 5e): evidence from the Bahama Islands. Quaternary Science Reviews, 20 (18). pp. 1881-1895.

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Abstract

The geology of the Last Interglaciation (sensu stricto, marine isotope substage (MIS) 5e) in the Bahamas records the nature of sea level and climate change. After a period of quasi-stability for most of the interglaciation, during which reefs grew to +2.5 m, sea level rose rapidly at the end of the period, incising notches in older limestone. After brief stillstands at +6 and perhaps +8.5 m, sea level fell with apparent speed to the MIS 5d lowstand and much cooler climatic conditions. It was during this regression from the MIS 5e highstand that the North Atlantic suffered an oceanographic “reorganization” about 118±3 ka ago. During this same interval, massive dune-building greatly enlarged the Bahama Islands. Giant waves reshaped exposed lowlands into chevron-shaped beach ridges, ran up on older coastal ridges, and also broke off and threw megaboulders onto and over 20 m-high cliffs. The oolitic rocks recording these features yield concordant whole-rock amino acid ratios across the archipelago. Whether or not the Last Interglaciation serves as an appropriate analog for our “greenhouse” world, it nonetheless reveals the intricate details of climatic transitions between warm interglaciations and near glacial conditions.

Item ID: 13400
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Bahamas; climate change; sea level
ISSN: 1873-457X
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2010 22:49
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040311 Stratigraphy (incl Biostratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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