Mid-Pacific microatolls record sea-level stability over the past 5000 yr

Woodroffe, Colin D., McGregor, Helen V., Lambeck, Kurt, Smithers, Scott G., and Fink, David (2012) Mid-Pacific microatolls record sea-level stability over the past 5000 yr. Geology, 40 (10). pp. 951-954.

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Abstract

There has been geographical variation in sea level since rapid postglacial melting of polar ice ceased similar to 6 k.y. ago, reflecting isostatic adjustments of Earth and ocean surfaces to past (and ongoing) redistribution of ice and water loads. A new data set of over 100 fossil microatolls from Christmas (Kiritimati) Island provides a Holocene sea-level record of unparalleled continuity. Living reef-flat corals grow up to a low-tide level. Adjacent fossil microatolls, long-lived Porites corals up to several meters in diameter, occur at similar elevations (±0.1 m), and extensive fossil microatolls in the island interior are at consistent elevations within each population. Collectively, they comprise an almost continuous sequence spanning the past 5 k.y., indicating that, locally, sea level has been within 0.25 m of its present position, and precluding global sea-level oscillations of one or more meters inferred from less stable locations, or using other sea-level indicators. This mid-Pacific atoll is tectonically stable and far from former ice sheets. The precisely surveyed and radiometrically dated microatolls indicate that sea level has not experienced significant oscillations, in accordance with geophysical modeling, which implies that the eustatic contribution from past ice melt and the isostatic adjustment of the ocean floor to loading largely cancel each other at this site.

Item ID: 24146
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1943-2682
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2012 05:25
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040305 Marine Geoscience @ 30%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040605 Palaeoclimatology @ 35%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040606 Quaternary Environments @ 35%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 35%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 30%
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