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Influence of tidal-range change and sediment compaction on Holocene relative sea-level change in New Jersey, USA

Authors

  • BENJAMIN P. HORTON,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, USA
    • Sea Level Research, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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  • SIMON E. ENGELHART,

    1. Sea Level Research, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island, USA
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  • DAVID F. HILL,

    1. School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
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  • ANDREW C. KEMP,

    1. Sea Level Research, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
    2. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
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  • DARIA NIKITINA,

    1. Department of Geology and Astronomy, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
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  • KENNETH G. MILLER,

    1. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA
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  • W. RICHARD PELTIER

    1. Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Correspondence: B. P. Horton, 2 Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, as above.

Email: bphorton@marine.rutgers.edu

ABSTRACT

We investigated the effect of tidal-range change and sediment compaction on reconstructions of Holocene relative sea level (RSL) in New Jersey, USA. We updated a published sea-level database to generate 50 sea-level index points and ten limiting dates that define continuously rising RSL in New Jersey during the Holocene. There is scatter among the index points, particularly those older than 7 ka. A numerical model estimated that paleotidal range was relatively constant during the mid and late Holocene, but rapidly increased between 9 and 8 ka, leading to an underestimation of RSL by ∼0.5 m. We adjusted the sea-level index points using the paleotidal model prior to assessing the influence of compaction on organic samples with clastic deposits above and below (an intercalated sea-level index point). We found a significant relationship (p = 0.01) with the thickness of the overburden (r = 0.85). We altered the altitude of intercalated index points using this simple stratigraphic relationship, which reduced vertical scatter in sea-level reconstructions. We conclude that RSL rose at an average rate of 4 mm a−1 from 10 ka to 6 ka, 2 mm a−1 from 6 ka to 2 ka, and 1.3 mm a−1 from 2 ka to AD 1900. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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