Post-glacial sea-level rise from a coral record at Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

  • Chappell J
  • Polach H
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DATING of coral reef terraces can provide a record of changes in sea level, which should be pronounced during the transition between glacial and interglacial periods. Cores drilled from coral reefs at Barbados in the equatorial west Atlantic1have revealed the sea-level changes that occurred during the Younger Dry as event at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (~11,000 yr BP). It has not been known, however, whether Pacific coral reefs can grow at a rate sufficient to keep up with the rise in sea level during such a transition. Here we report results obtained from a 52-m drill core from the post-glacial reef at Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea, spanning the interval from 7,000 to 11,000 14C yr BP, which show that coral growth kept pace while the relative sea level rose by 50m. Although the tectonic environment is very different from that at Barbados, the two records compare well when corrections are made for local tectonic uplift, showing that sea-level rise was similar at both locations. The rate of rise was greatest between 9,000 and 10,00014C yr BP, corresponding to the time of the Younger Dryas.

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  • John Chappell

  • Henry Polach

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