Revision of the late Pleistocene stratigraphy of Bermuda

Hearty, Paul J. (2002) Revision of the late Pleistocene stratigraphy of Bermuda. Sedimentary Geology, 153 (1-2). pp. 1-21.

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The Quaternary stratigraphy of Bermuda is one of the world's most complete sedimentary records of interglacial highstands, representing at least the past million years. Yet in terms of the last interglacial (Rocky Bay Formation), marine isotope substage (MIS) 5e, only scanty deposits are preserved. In contrast, MIS 7, generally regarded as a diminutive interglaciation, exposes widespread emergent subtidal deposits of the Belmont Formation indicating a prolonged sea level highstand at ca. +2.5+/-0.3 m. This ''Belmont paradox'' has prompted a reexamination of the geology of key sites along the South Shore of Bermuda.This revision of the late Quaternary stratigraphy of Bermuda is based on geological field observations; primarily the questionable origin of red soil-like deposits. It is concluded here that there is no physical evidence of the exposure of the upper Belmont surface for a full glacial cycle (~70-100 ka), and that interbedded, reddish soil-like, lenticular deposits are the result of colluvial activity during mid-MIS 5e. Reexamination of previously published uranium-series (U/Th) ages indicates that several ''+3-m notches'' contain a mix of ca. 125 ka and older coral ages. Contrary to previous works, this study favors an early MIS 5e interpretation of the coral ages from the +2.5-m Belmont shoreline, which is further supported by amino acid racemization (AAR) ratios on whole-rock, Poecilozonites, Glycymeris, and Brachiodontes samples from shore and notch deposits. An updated AAR kinetic model demonstrates that the bulk of epimerization occurred during warm interglacial intervals between 130 and 80 ka and the last 10 ka of the Holocene. This revised stratigraphy of Bermuda now falls into accordance with a more general view of middle and late Pleistocene sea level history.

Item ID: 13668
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0037-0738
Keywords: Bermuda; sea-level history; late Pleistocene; marine isotope substage 5e; Quaternary stratigraphy; amino acid geochronology
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2010 22:50
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040311 Stratigraphy (incl Biostratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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