2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 197-3
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM

SEA-LEVEL RISE IN THE DELAWARE BAY (U.S. ATLANTIC COAST) DURING THE COMMON ERA


GARC√ćA-ARTOLA, A.1, HORTON, B.P.1, ENGELHART, S.E.2, NIKITINA, D.3, PILARCZYK, J.E.1, KHAN, N.S.1, WALKER, J.1 and SHAW, T.1, (1)Department of Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers University, 71 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, (2)Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island, Woodward Hall, 9 East Alumni Avenue, Kingston, RI 02881, (3)Geology and Astronomy, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, 207 Merion Science Center, West Chester, PA 19383, agarciaartola@marine.rutgers.edu

The study of sea levels during the Common Era (CE; last 2000 years) improves our understanding of the relation to known periods of climate variability, such as the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. Understanding natural variability in sea level is vital for model calibration and the improvement of predictions for future sea-level rise.

High-resolution records of sea level spanning the CE exist along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina and Northern Florida. Here, we present the first record from the Delaware Bay, a region with the highest rates of glacial isostatic subsidence along the U.S. Atlantic coast.

We collected a modern training set of 60 foraminiferal samples from Breakwater Harbor marsh, Delaware Bay. The assemblages are dominated by Trochammina inflata, Jadammina macrescens and Haplophragmoides spp. in the high marsh, and T. inflata, J. macrescens, Arenoparrella mexicana and Miliammina spp. in the low marsh. We developed a foraminifera-based transfer function to reconstruct the paleomarsh elevation from a ~2.6m long core of low and high marsh peat sediment.

Foraminifera-based reconstructions were placed into a temporal framework using a composite chronology composed of AMS radiocarbon, short-lived radionuclides (210Pb and 137Cs) and pollution histories. The reconstructed relative sea-level rise rate during the 20th century was assessed with the nearest Lewes (DE) tide gauge record, and then extended back over the CE.