A sea-level database for the Pacific coast of central North America

Quaternary Science Reviews
By: , and 



A database of published and new relative sea-level (RSL) data for the past 16 ka constrains the sea-level histories of the Pacific coast of central North America (southern British Columbia to central California). Our reevaluation of the stratigraphic context and radiocarbon age of sea-level indicators from geological and archaeological investigations yields 600 sea-level index points and 241 sea-level limiting points. We subdivided the database into 12 regions based on the availability of data, tectonic setting, and distance from the former Cordilleran ice sheet. Most index (95%) and limiting points (54%) are <7 ka; older data come mainly from British Columbia and San Francisco Bay. The stratigraphic position of points was used as a first-order assessment of compaction. Formerly glaciated areas show variable RSL change; where data are present, highstands of RSL occur immediately post-deglaciation and in the mid to late Holocene. Sites at the periphery and distant to formerly glaciated areas demonstrate a continuous rise in RSL with a decreasing rate through time due to the collapse of the peripheral forebulge and the reduction in meltwater input during deglaciation. Late Holocene RSL change varies spatially from falling at 0.7 ± 0.8 mm a−1 in southern British Columbia to rising at 1.5 ± 0.3 mm a−1 in California. The different sea-level histories are an ongoing isostatic response to deglaciation of the Cordilleran and Laurentide Ice Sheets.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A sea-level database for the Pacific coast of central North America
Series title Quaternary Science Reviews
DOI 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.12.001
Volume 113
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 78
Last page 92
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