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Late Quaternary Sea Levels in the Gulf of Mexico
C. Wylie Poag (1)
The definitive data for late Quaternary sea levels in the Gulf of Mexico primarily are based on the presence of submerged shoreline depositional features. The accompanying few radiocarbon dates are inadequate to clearly define the chronology of stillstands and regressions during the "post glacial" rise. During the last three years new evidence has been gathered from wave-cut terraces and erosional unconformities present on submerged banks near the edge of the northern Gulf continental shelf. At least 26 distinct levels can be recognized between 2 and 223 m, and there are numerous additional minor ones. Most have been interpreted as having resulted from eustatic changes, but it is now clear that tectonic and isostatic movements are also involved. Renewed study of the geomorphology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy of the bank deposits coupled with extensive radiocarbon dating can clarify the late Quaternary marine sequence in the Gulf of Mexico, and will eventually allow more satisfactory interpretations on a global basis.
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