A post-glacial relative sea-level curve from Fiordland, New Zealand

TitleA post-glacial relative sea-level curve from Fiordland, New Zealand
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDlabola, EK, Wilson, GS, Gorman, AR, Riesselman, CR, Moy, CM
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change

The modern fjords of southwest New Zealand were previously stranded lakes isolated from the Tasman Sea by bedrock and moraine sills following the retreat of glaciers at the Last Glacial Maximum. The isolated lake basins were subsequently inundated with sea water when sea-level rise overtopped the sills. A record of the lacustrine-to-marine environmental transition is preserved in the fjord basin sediments and is identified in two New Zealand fjords with high-resolution seismic data and paleoenvironmental analysis of sediment cores. Seismic data are used to constrain the maximum sill depth and microfossil assemblages are used to track the lacustrine-to-marine transition. Chronology is based on fourteen radiocarbon ages. A relative sea-level curve for Fiordland, New Zealand is constructed based on sill depths and age constraints on the marine incursion. The sea-level curve allows insights into estimated uplift rates for Fiordland during the Holocene. From a lowstand of at least 107 mbsl 14,750 yr ago, these data reveal a stepwise transgression. Meltwater Pulse 1b is identified between 12,400 and 11,400 yr ago, with a second acceleration in sea-level rise observed 9700 yr ago. This record contributes a new sea-level curve for a mid-latitude (45°S) Southern Hemisphere location as well as new evidence for Meltwater Pulse 1b.