Relative sea level variations in the Chukchi region - Arctic Ocean - since the late Eocene

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Abstract

[1] Relative sea level (RSL) variations are a result of tectonic activity, changing of the water volume in ocean basins (e.g. due to increasing/decreasing of ice volume, evaporation) and variations in regional to global climate, which influence erosional processes and material transport. We present multi-channel seismic data combined with dated sediment horizons from the Chukchi Shelf, Arctic Ocean. Based on a series of prograding sequences in the upper 4 km of sediments and the method of seismic sequence stratigraphy, we introduce the first RSL curve for the Chukchi region, beginning in the late Eocene (40 Ma). The comparison of the Chukchi RSL curve with the global RSL curve shows that RSL lowering events in the Chukchi region do not correlate with global events for the Eocene/Oligocene - early Miocene. Between the Eocene/Oligocene and the late Oligocene, the Chukchi RSL variations were small (< 100 m). Since the late Oligocene the Chukchi RSL increased until the opening of the Fram Strait in the early Miocene. We show that the Chukchi RSL variations are representative for the Arctic Ocean, and conclude that the Arctic Ocean was an isolated basin for the Eocene/Oligocene - early Miocene.

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