A revised morpho- and chronostratigraphy of the Late and Middle Pleistocene coral reef terraces on Southern Barbados (West Indies)
The Barbados coral reef terraces are one of the few type localities worldwide that provide insights into interglacial sea level change during the Late and Middle Pleistocene. Several sea level estimates have been established since the late 1960s and each has contributed to the “Barbados Model” of sea level change. This paper presents new morpho- and chonostratigraphic data from the Barbados coral reef terraces developed over the last 12 years. The work is based on significant advances in Electron Spin Resonance (ESR)-dating of fossil coral, air photo interpretation, and a greatly improved geomorphic map of preserved fossil beach formations and reef terraces above present sea level. The need for a revision of past published morpho- and chronostratigraphies is best demonstrated on the southern part of the island. The morpho- and chronostratigraphic sequence in this region is both more complex and diverse than has been assumed so far. The revised morphostratigraphy presented here includes a differentiation of coral reef terraces, wave-cut platforms and other erosive features, such as notches and cliffs. Our study of these geomorphic features, combined with new numeric dating results (ESR, U/Th), enable a revised estimate of the spatial and temporal variation in tectonic uplift rate within south Barbados. These new rates are an essential requirement for more precise glacio-eustatic sea level reconstructions during the Late and Middle Pleistocene from this region.
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