Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Marine Oxygen Isotope Record in Pleistocene Coral, Barbados, West Indies1

  • Richard G. Fairbanks (a1) and R.K. Matthews (a2)
Abstract

The reef-crest coral Acropora palmata from late Pleistocene reefs on Barbados has recorded the same global variations in oxygen isotopes as planktonic and benthonic foraminifera. Although the record of oxygen isotopes in Acropora palmata is discontinuous, it offers several advantages over the isotope records from deep-sea sediments: (1) the coral grows at water depths of less than 5 m; (2) the samples are unmixed; (3) specimens may be sampled from various elevations of paleo-sea level; and (4) aragonitic corals are suitable for 230Th/234U and He/U dating techniques. The latter advantage means that direct dating of the marine oxygen isotope record is possible. Oxygen isotope stage 5e corresponds to Barbados III, dated at 125,000 ± 6000 yr BP. Petrographic and geochemical evidence from five boreholes drilled into the south coast of Barbados indicates a major eustatic lowering (greater than 100 m below present sea level) occurred between 180,000 and 125,000 yr BP. The age and isotopic data suggest correlation of this change in sea level to Emiliani's oxygen isotope stage 6. Acropora palmata deposited at various elevations of sea level during oxygen isotope stage 6 vary by 0.11 ‰ δ18O for each 10 m of change in sea level. We further hypothesize a minimum drop of 2°C in the average temperature occurred during the regressive phase of oxygen isotope stage 6. These data indicate that temperature lowering of surface water near Barbados lagged behind a major glacial buildup during this time period. Using the δ18O vs sea level calibration herein derived, we estimate the relative height of sea stands responsible for Barbados coral reef terraces in the time range 80,000 to 220,000 yr BP.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All

Contribution No. 2730, Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J.R. Allan , R.K. Matthews , 1977. Carbon and oxygen isotopes as diagenetic and stratigraphic tools: surface and subsurface data, Barbadose, West Indies. Geology. 5, 16-20.

M.L. Bender , F.W. Taylor , R.K. Matthews , 1973. Helium-uranium dating of corals from middle Pleistocene Barbados reef tracts. Quaternary Research. 3, 142-146.

W.S. Broecker , 1975. Floating glacial ice caps in the Arctic Ocean. Science. 188, 1116-1118.

W.S. Broecker , D.L. Thurber , J. Goddard , T.K. Ku , R.K. Matthews , K.J. Mesolella , 1968. Milankovitch hypothesis supported by precise dating of coral reefs and deep sea sediments. Science. 159, 297-300.

W.S. Broecker , J. van Donk , 1970. Insolation changes, ice-volumes, and the 18O record in deep-sea cores. Reviews of Geophysics and Space Physics. 8, 169-198.

H. Craig , 1957. Isotopic standards for carbon and oxygen and correction factors for mass-spectrometric analysis of carbon dioxide. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 12, 133-149.

W. Dansgaard , H. Tauber , 1969. Glacial oxygen-18 content and Pleistocene ocean temperatures. Science. 166, 499-502.

C. Emiliani , 1958. Paleotemperature analysis of core 280 and Pleistocene correlations. Journal of Geology. 66, 264.

C. Emiliani , 1966. Paleotemperature analysis of Caribbean cores P6304-8 and P6304-9 and a generalized temperature curve for the past 425,000 years. Journal of Geology. 74, 109-124.

C. Emiliani , 1970. Pleistocene paleotemperatures. Science. 168, 822-825.

C. Emiliani , 1972. Quaternary paleotemperatures and the duration of the high-temperature intervals. Science. 178, 398-401.

S. Epstein , H.A. Buchsbaum , H.A. Lowenstam , H.C. Urey , 1953. Revised carbonate-water isotopic temperature scale. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 64, 1315-1325.

J. Imbrie , J. van Donk , N.G. Kipp , 1973. Paleoclimatic investigation of a late Pleistocene Caribbean core: Comparison of isotopic and faunal methods. Quaternary Research. 3, 10-38.

N.P. James , E.W. Mountjoy , A. Omura , 1971. An early Wisconsin reef terrace at Barbados, West Indies, and its climatic implications. Geological Society of America Bulletin. 82, 2011-2018.

T.L. Ku , 1968. Protactinium 231 method of dating corals from Barbados Island. Journal of Geophysical Research. 73, 2271-2276.

T.L. Ku , M.A. Kimmel , W.H. Easton , T.J. O'Neil , 1974. Eustatic sea level 120,000 years ago on Oahu, Hawaii. Science. 183, 959-962.

R.K. Matthews , 1973. Relative elevation of late Pleistocene high sea level stands: Barbados uplift rates and their implications. Quaternary Research. 3, 147-153.

J.M. McCrea , 1950. The isotopic chemistry of carbonates and a paleotemperature scale. Journal of Chemical Physics. 18, 849-857.

A. McIntyre , N.G. Kipp , A.W.H. , T. Crowley , T. Kellogg , J.152. Gardner , W. Prell , W.F. Ruddiman , 1976. Glacial North Atlantic 18,000 years ago: A CLIMAP reconstruction. R.M. Cline , J.D. Hays , Investigation of Late Quaternary Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatologv. Geological Society of America Memoir No. 145. 43-76.

K.J. Mesolella , R.K. Matthews , W.S. Broecker , D.L. Thurber , 1969. Astronomical theory of climatic changes: Barbados data. Journal of Geology. 77, 250-274.

E. Olausson , 1965. Evidence of climatic changes in North Atlantic deep-sea cores, with remarks on isotopic paleotemperature analysis. Progress in Oceanography. 3, 221-252.

N.J. Shackleton , 1967. Oxygen isotope analyses and Pleistocene temperatures reassessed. Nature (London). 215, 15-17.

N.J. Shackleton , R.K. Matthews , 1977. Oxygen isotope stratigraphy of dated interglacial coral terraces in Barbados. Nature (London). 268, 618-620.

J. van Donk , 1976. O18 record of the Atlantic Ocean for the entire Pleistocene epoch. Geological Society of America Memoir. 145, 147-163.

J.N. Weber , P.M.J. Woodhead , 1972. Temperature dependence of oxygen-18 concentration in reef coral carbonates. Journal of Geophysical Research. 77, 463-473.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
  • URL: /core/journals/quaternary-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 91 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 25th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.