By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(German text translated/edited by P. Gosselin)
A paper authored by Khan et al. 2017 looked at the Caribbean over the past 10,000 years.
After the end of the last ice age some 11,000 years ago, sea level rose around Surinam and Guyana at a rate of 11 mm per year. That’s about 5 times faster than today.
During the middle and late Holocene, i.e. over the past 5000 years, sea level rise was only 2.4 mm per year. By the way: 5300 years ago sea level at both countries was about 1 meter higher than today’s level. Surprised? Abstract:
Drivers of Holocene sea-level change in the Caribbean
We present a Holocene relative sea-level (RSL) database for the Caribbean region (5°N to 25°N and 55°W to 90°W) that consists of 499 sea-level index points and 238 limiting dates. The database was compiled from multiple sea-level indicators (mangrove peat, microbial mats, beach rock and acroporid and massive corals). We subdivided the database into 20 regions to investigate the influence of tectonics and glacial isostatic adjustment on RSL. We account for the local-scale processes of sediment compaction and tidal range change using the stratigraphic position (overburden thickness) of index points and paleotidal modeling, respectively. We use a spatio-temporal empirical hierarchical model to estimate RSL position and its rates of change in the Caribbean over 1-ka time slices. Because of meltwater input, the rates of RSL change were highest during the early Holocene, with a maximum of 10.9 ± 0.6 m/ka in Suriname and Guyana and minimum of 7.4 ± 0.7 m/ka in south Florida from 12 to 8 ka. Following complete deglaciation of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) by ∼7 ka, mid-to late-Holocene rates slowed to < 2.4 ± 0.4 m/ka. The hierarchical model constrains the spatial extent of the mid-Holocene highstand. RSL did not exceed the present height during the Holocene, except on the northern coast of South America, where in Suriname and Guyana, RSL attained a height higher than present by 6.6 ka (82% probability).The highstand reached a maximum elevation of +1.0 ± 1.1 m between 5.3 and 5.2 ka. Regions with a highstand were located furthest away from the former LIS, where the effects from ocean syphoning and hydro-isostasy outweigh the influence of subsidence from forebulge collapse.”