An Early Pliocene relative sea level record from Patagonia (Argentina)

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Alessio Rovere , Marta Pappalardo, Sebastian Richiano, Marina Aguirre, Michael R. Sandstrom, Paul J. Hearty, Jacqueline Austermann, Ignacio Castellanos, Maureen E. Raymo


We report a geological unit surveyed and dated in central Patagonia, Argentina (Camarones town, San Jorge Gulf). The unit was interpreted as representative of an intertidal environment and dated to the Early Pliocene (4.69-5.23 Ma) with strontium isotope stratigraphy. The elevation of this unit was measured with differential GPS at ca. 36 m above present-day sea level. Considering modern tidal ranges, it was possible to constrain paleo relative sea level within ±2.5m (1-sigma). We use glacial isostatic adjustment models and estimates of vertical land movement to calculate that, when the Camarones intertidal sequence was deposited, global mean sea level was 28.4 ± 11.7m above present. This estimate matches those derived from analogous Early Pliocene sea level proxies in the Mediterranean Sea and South Africa. Evidence from these three locations indicates that Early Pliocene sea level may have exceeded 20m above its present level. Such high global mean sea level values imply an ice-free Greenland, a significant melting of West Antarctica, and a contribution of East Antarctica to global mean sea level.



Earth Sciences, Geomorphology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Geology, Argentina, Paleo shorelines, Patagonia, Pliocene, Sea level


Published: 2020-07-08 12:39

Last Updated: 2020-12-26 14:29

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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