Relative sea-level changes since 15 000 cal. yr BP in the Nanortalik area, southern Greenland

Charlotte J. Sparrenbom*, O. Bennike, S. Björck, K. Lambeck

*Corresponding author for this work

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    50 Citations (Scopus)


    We present new results for relative sea-level change for southern Greenland for the interval from 9000 cal. yr BP to the present. Together with earlier work from the same region this yields a nearly complete record from the time of deglaciation to the present. Isolation and/or transgression sequences in one lake and five tidal basins have been identified using lithostratigraphic analyses, sedimentary characteristics, magnetic susceptibility, saturated induced remanent magnetisation (SIRM), organic and carbonate content, and macrofossil analyses. AMS radiocarbon dating of macrofossils and bulk sediment samples provides the timescale. Relative sea level fell rapidly and reached present-day level at ∼ 9300 cal. yr BP and continued falling until at least 9000 cal. yr BP. Between 8000 and 6000 cal. yr BP sea level reached its lowest level of around ∼ 10 m below highest astronomical tide. At around 5000 cal. yr BP, sea level had reached above 7.8 m below highest astronomical tide and slowly continued to rise, not reaching present-day sea level until today. The isostatic rebound caused rapid isolation of the basins that are seen as distinct isolation contacts in the sediments. In contrast, the late Holocene transgressions are less well defined and occurred over longer time intervals. The late Holocene sea-level rise may be a consequence of isostatic reloading by advancing glaciers and/or an effect of the delayed response to isostatic rebound of the Laurentide ice sheet. One consequence of this transgression is that settlements of Palaeo-Eskimo cultures may be missing in southern Greenland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-48
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


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