15 Nov 2021

15 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Compilation of Last Interglacial (Marine Isotope Stage 5e) sea level indicators in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the east coast of Florida, USA

Andrea Dutton, Alexandra Villa, and Peter M. Chutcharavan Andrea Dutton et al.
  • Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, 53706, USA

Abstract. This paper provides a summary of published sea level archives representing the past position of sea level during the Last Interglacial sea level highstand in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the eastern (Atlantic) coast of Florida, USA. These data were assembled as part of a community effort to build the World Atlas of Last Interglacial Shorelines (WALIS) database. Shallow marine deposits from this sea level highstand are widespread across the region and are dominated by carbonate sedimentary features. In addition to depositional (constructional) sedimentary indicators of past sea level position, there is also evidence of erosion, dissolution, and/or subaerial exposure in places that can place an upper limit on the position of sea level. The sea level indicators that have been observed within this region and attributed to Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e include corals, oolites, and other coastal sedimentary features.

Here we compile a total of 50 relative sea level indicators including 36 in the Bahamas, three in West Caicos, and a remaining 10 for the eastern seaboard of Florida. We have also compiled U-Th age data for 24 fossil corals and 56 oolite samples. While some of these archives have been dated using U-Th disequilibrium methods, amino acid racemization, or optically stimulated luminescence, other features have more uncertain ages that have been deduced in the context of regional mapping and stratigraphy. Sedimentary archives in this region that constrain the elevation of the past position of sea level are associated with uncertainties that range from a couple decimeters to several meters. Across the Bahamas and on West Caicos, one of the observations that emerges from this compilation is that estimation of sea level position in this region during Marine Isotope Stage 5e is complicated by widespread stratigraphic evidence for at least one sea level oscillation. This evidence is defined by submarine features separated by erosion and subaerial exposure, meaning that there were likely multiple distinct peaks in sea level rather than just one. To this end, the timing of these individual sea level indicators becomes important when compiling and comparing data across the region given that different archives may have formed during different sub-orbital peaks in sea level.

Andrea Dutton et al.

Status: open (until 10 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Andrea Dutton et al.

Data sets

Database of Last Interglacial sea level indicators from the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the east coast of Florida, USA Dutton, A., Villa, A., Chutcharavan, P. M.

Andrea Dutton et al.


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Short summary
This paper includes data that have been compiled to identify the position of sea level during a warm period about 125,000 years ago that is known as the Last Interglacial. Here, we have focused on compiling data for the region of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the east coast of Florida. These data were compiled and placed within a standardized format prescribed by a new database known as WALIS, which stands for World Atlas of Last Interglacial Shorelines Database.