Global sea-level fluctuations during the last interglaciation (MIS 5e)


The geomorphology and morphostratigraphy of numerous worldwide sites reveal the relative movements of sea level during the peak of the Last Interglaciation (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e, assumed average duration between 130±2 and 119±2 ka). Because sea level was higher than present, deposits are emergent, exposed, and widespread on many stable coastlines. Correlation with MIS 5e is facilitated by similar morphostratigraphic relationships, a low degree of diagenesis, uranium–thorium (U/Th) ages, and a global set of amino-acid racemization (AAR) data. This study integrates information from a large number of sites from tectonically stable areas including Bermuda, Bahamas, and Western Australia, and some that have experienced minor uplift (∼2.5 m/100 ka), including selected sites from the Mediterranean and Hawaii. Significant fluctuations during the highstand are evident at many MIS 5e sites, revealed from morphological, stratigraphic, and sedimentological evidence. Rounded and flat-topped curves derived only from reef tracts are incomplete and not representative of the entire interglacial story. Despite predictions of much different sea-level histories in Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Western Australia due to glacio- and hydro-isostatic effects, the rocks from these sites reveal a nearly identical record during the Last Interglaciation.



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