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Quantifying the contribution of sediment compaction to late Holocene salt-marsh sea-level reconstructions, North Carolina, USA.

Brain, M.J. and Kemp, A.C. and Horton, B.P. and Culver, S.J. and Parnell, A.C. and Cahill, N. (2015) 'Quantifying the contribution of sediment compaction to late Holocene salt-marsh sea-level reconstructions, North Carolina, USA.', Quaternary research., 83 (1). pp. 41-51.

Abstract

Salt-marsh sediments provide accurate and precise reconstructions of late Holocene relative sea-level changes. However, compaction of salt-marsh stratigraphies can cause post-depositional lowering (PDL) of the samples used to reconstruct sea level, creating an estimation of former sea level that is too low and a rate of rise that is too great. We estimated the contribution of compaction to late Holocene sea-level trends reconstructed at Tump Point, North Carolina, USA. We used a geotechnical model that was empirically calibrated by performing tests on surface sediments from modern depositional environments analogous to those encountered in the sediment core. The model generated depth-specific estimates of PDL, allowing samples to be returned to their depositional altitudes. After removing an estimate of land-level change, error-in-variables changepoint analysis of the decompacted and original sea-level reconstructions identified three trends. Compaction did not generate artificial sea-level trends and cannot be invoked as a causal mechanism for the features in the Tump Point record. The maximum relative contribution of compaction to reconstructed sea-level change was 12%. The decompacted sea-level record shows 1.71 mm yr−1 of rise since AD 1845.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Post-depositional lowering, Tump Point, Salt-marsh peat.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yqres.2014.08.003
Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Quaternary Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Quaternary Research, 83/1, 2015, 10.1016/j.yqres.2014.08.003.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:18 September 2014
Date of first online publication:20 January 2017
Date first made open access:20 July 2017

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