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Late Quaternary sea-level changes of the Persian Gulf

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Stephen W. Lokier*
Petroleum Geosciences Department, The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Mark D. Bateman
Department of Geography, Winter St., University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Nigel R. Larkin
Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
Philip Rye
Granary Court Cottage, Granary Court Road, Smeeth, Ashford, Kent TN25 6RE, UK
John R. Stewart
School of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, Dorset BH12 5BB, UK
*Corresponding author.E-mail (S.W. Lokier), (M.D. Bateman), (N.R. Larkin), (P. Rye), (J.R. Stewart).


Late Quaternary reflooding of the Persian Gulf climaxed with the mid-Holocene highstand previously variously dated between 6 and 3.4 ka. Examination of the stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental context of a mid-Holocene whale beaching allows us to accurately constrain the timing of the transgressive, highstand and regressive phases of the mid- to late Holocene sea-level highstand in the Persian Gulf. Mid-Holocene transgression of the Gulf surpassed today's sea level by 7100–6890 cal yr BP, attaining a highstand of > 1 m above current sea level shortly after 5290–4570 cal yr BP before falling back to current levels by 1440–1170 cal yr BP. The cetacean beached into an intertidal hardground pond during the transgressive phase (5300–4960 cal yr BP) with continued transgression interring the skeleton in shallow-subtidal sediments. Subsequent relative sea-level fall produced a forced regression with consequent progradation of the coastal system. These new ages refine previously reported timings for the mid- to late Holocene sea-level highstand published for other regions. By so doing, they allow us to constrain the timing of this correlatable global eustatic event more accurately.

University of Washington

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