Mid-Pliocene sea level and continental ice volume based on coupled benthic Mg/Ca palaeotemperatures and oxygen isotopes
Ostracode magnesium/calcium (Mg/Ca)-based bottom-water temperatures were combined with benthic foraminiferal oxygen isotopes in order to quantify the oxygen isotopic composition of seawater, and estimate continental ice volume and sea-level variability during the Mid-Pliocene warm period, ca 3.3-3.0Ma. Results indicate that, following a low stand of approximately 65m below present at marine isotope stage (MIS) M2 (ca 3.3Ma), sea level generally fluctuated by 20-30m above and below a mean value similar to present-day sea level. In addition to the low-stand event at MIS M2, significant low stands occurred at MIS KM2 (-40 m), G22 (-40m) and G16 (-60m). Six high stands of +10m or more above present day were also observed; four events (+10, +25,+15 and +30 m) from MIS M1 to KM3, a high stand of +15m at MIS K1, and a high stand of +25m at MIS G17. These results indicate that continental ice volume varied significantly during the Mid-Pliocene warm period and that at times there were considerable reductions of Antarctic ice. © 2008 The Royal Society.
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