Coral Reefs

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 257–270

Corrected western Atlantic sea-level curve for the last 11,000 years based on calibrated 14C dates from Acropora palmata framework and intertidal mangrove peat


DOI: 10.1007/s00338-003-0315-4

Cite this article as:
Toscano, M.A. & Macintyre, I.G. Coral Reefs (2003) 22: 257. doi:10.1007/s00338-003-0315-4


A corrected western Atlantic Holocene sea-level curve was constructed from 145 calibrated 14C and TIMS U-Th dates from shallow Acropora palmata framework and intertidal Rhizopora mangle peat from the Florida Keys, Belize, and the wider Caribbean. Data include both previously published and newly reported coral and peat dates. With the elevations of corals restricted to positions below sea level and those of peats to intertidal and higher levels, a curve bracketed by corals below and peat above effectively delineates the positions of a rising Holocene sea. From 3–11 ka, the corrected curve shifts progressively to older calibrated ages, reaching an ~1-kyr increase at −21 m MSL (mean sea level). Elevations and calibrated ages of samples from each locality in the wider Caribbean region constitute an important database for future refinement with glacio-hydro-isostatic elevation corrections from 3-D Earth models. In future studies of the history of western Atlantic coral reefs, scientists will be able to relate calibrated radiocarbon dates to this sea-level curve to determine paleo water depths and rates of sea-level rise.


Sea-level rise Acropora palmata Mangrove peat Radiocarbon calibration Paleo water depths Corrected Holocene sea-level curve Glacio-hydro-isostacy 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PaleobiologySmithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural HistoryWashingtonUSA

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