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Sea-level and climate events during the past 500'000 years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and paleosols from the southeastern Bahamas

English title Sea-level and climate events during the past 500'000 years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and paleosols from the southeastern Bahamas
Applicant Kindler Pascal
Number 113356
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Département des sciences de la Terre Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.04.2007 - 31.03.2009
Approved amount 167'828.00
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Keywords (15)

southeastern Bahamas; Quaternary; stratigraphy; carbonate sedimentology; paleo-pedology; paleoceanography; physical stratigraphy; sedimentology; sedimentary petrography; isotope chemistry; radiometric dating; sea-level changes; paleoclimatology; late Quaternary; Bahamas

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Fossil reefs, coastal deposits (i.e. ancient beaches, eolianites) and intervening paleosols contain direct information on sea-level and climate fluctuations during the late Quaternary that supplement data derived from the study of ice cores and deep-sea sediments. Such knowledge is critical to decipher the mechanisms of sea-level and climate variations, and better constrain future global changes. Fossil reefs are precise indicators of former sea stands and can further be accurately dated with the U-series method. The sedimentological and petrographic characteristics of ancient coastal deposits register high-frequency sea-level and water-table changes, as well as climatic conditions during early diagenesis. Finally, paleosols contain information on earlier regional climatic conditions and, through the study of wind-borne parent material, on past atmospheric circulation patterns. The study of these three types of fossil deposits is thus highly complementary.

Fossil reefs, coastal deposits and, to a lesser extent, paleosols have been already studied in details in Bermuda, Barbados, Florida, and the northern Bahamas. The framework of late Quaternary sea-level and climate changes in these areas is thus well established, although many uncertainties still remain. By contrast, the southeastern Bahamas have not been much studied in this respect, possibly because of their relative inaccessibility. We therefore plan to bridge this gap by undertaking detailed stratigraphic, sedimentological and geochemical analyses of the coastal sediments, reefal terraces, and paleosols exposed in this region, both on the islands and offshore. We plan to focus on four main controversial topics: (1) climate and sea-level during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11; (2) climate and sea-level during MIS 7; (3) high-frequency climate and sea-level changes during MIS 5e; (4) the parent material of Bahamian paleosols and past atmospheric circulation patterns.

In addition to refining our knowledge on the timing and magnitude of key sea-level and climate events during the late Quaternary, a critical piece of information for better understanding the dynamics of ice ages, this study will enable us to complement existing models of shallow-water and coastal sedimentation, which could be applied to older sedimentary sequences. This last topic is also becoming a key scientific and political issue in the current context of anthropogenic global warming and sea-level rise.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124608 Sea-level and climate events during the past 5 million years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and dolostones from Mayaguana and Little Inagua Islands, SE Bahamas 01.04.2009 Project funding
119777 Les dépôts littoraux pleistocènes et holocènes: une clé pour déchiffrer les séries sédimentaires anciennes et pour gérer l'évolution future des côtes 01.04.2008 Project funding
107436 The middle/late Miocene climatic transition: the record from shallow-water carbonates (Australia and Italy) 01.04.2005 Project funding
124608 Sea-level and climate events during the past 5 million years: the record from fossil reefs, coastal deposits and dolostones from Mayaguana and Little Inagua Islands, SE Bahamas 01.04.2009 Project funding

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