Sub-orbital sea-level change in early MIS 5e: New evidence from the Gulf of Corinth, Greece

Julian E. Andrews, Clive Portman, Peter J. Rowe, Michael R. Leeder, Jan D. Kramers

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New evidence from uplifted marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e carbonate deposits in the Gulf of Corinth demonstrate two rapid, sub-orbitally forced, sea-level oscillations in the early part of MIS 5e. Microbial bioherms with inter-grown marine coralline algae are interpreted as early highstand deposits. Presence of thin vadose flowstone (speleothem) coating inter-bioherm surfaces mark a short-lived regression of > 10 m, followed by sea-level recovery and re-establishment of the highstand, marked by coralline algae coating inter-bioherm cavity surfaces. These marine algae are then coated by a younger vadose flowstone, thick enough to provide an uncontaminated U/Th date of 134.8 ± 2.0 ka. The dated flowstone is itself encrusted by marine fauna and the entire sequence overlain by highstand marine sediments and marine aragonite cements dated to 114-118 ka, part of the sustained MIS 5e highstand. The age of the younger flowstone demonstrates that the early highstand occurred before 134.8 ± 2.0 ka, and uplift arguments suggest that the bioherms are unlikely to be older than ~ 136 ka. These data are consistent with the notion that most of termination II (TII) sea-level rise had occurred before 135 ka; indeed they suggest sea-level at this time reached about 2-4 (± 4) m below present sea-level, 6-18 (± 4) m higher than previous estimates. This early highstand was itself punctuated by a rapid sea-level oscillation of > 10 m (as yet undated), and this oscillation, supported by new TII sea-level data from the Red Sea [Siddall, M., Bard, E., Rohling, E.J., Hemleben, C., 2006, Sea-level reversal during termination II, Geology, 34, 817-820.], probably occurred in about 1000 yr. The flowstone dated at 134.8 ± 2.0 ka is interpreted to record the early part of the 'Aladdin's Cave' regressive event from Papua New Guinea, although in Greece only the first 16 m of the event is recorded. The new data presented here support a recently published Red Sea TII sea-level curve: they also highlight minor discrepancies in the absolute dating of these early MIS 5e sea-level events worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-468
Number of pages12
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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