Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Recent Relative Sea-Level Change in Eastern North America1

By
BARBARA V. BRAATZ
BARBARA V. BRAATZ
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole, MA 02543
Search for other works by this author on:
DAVID G. AUBREY
DAVID G. AUBREY
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Woods Hole, MA 02543
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 1987

Abstract:

Eigenanalysis of tide-gauge records between 1920 and 1983 in eastern North America reveals highly variable spatial and temporal patterns of relative sea-level change. Auxiliary data from numerical modeling suggest that much of the long wavelength (thousands of kilometers) spatial patterns of sea-level change are due to postglacial isostatic adjustment of the land surface. Filtering the isostatic component from the rates of relative sea-level movement yields residual rates that fluctuate about a coastal mean of 1.0-1.5 mm/yr during this 64-yr time interval. This mean rate is within the range of previous estimates of mean rate of eustatic rise in sea level during the past century. Some residual fluctuations (wavelengths of tens to hundreds of kilometers) correlate with tilts of the land surface revealed by geodetic leveling transects, and appear to be related to regional geology (i.e., basement structures and tectonic provinces in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Chesapeake Bay area; fault reactivation in northern New England and the Maritime Provinces). These results suggest that tide-gauge data can be used to determine neotectonic movements along this coastline. Analysis of the temporal patterns of relative sea-level change reveals a gradual increase in the rate of rise centered at about 1934, which may be due to steric expansion of the ocean. Broad peaks in the spectrum of temporal sea-level fluctuations at 3-, 6-, and 20-yr periodicities (significant at the 80 percent level) may be a reflection of oceanographic, atmospheric, and lunar forcing.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

SEPM Special Publication

Sea-Level Fluctuation and Coastal Evolution

Dag Nummedal
Dag Nummedal
Department of Geology and Geophysics Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Search for other works by this author on:
Orrin H. Pilkey
Orrin H. Pilkey
Department of Geology Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Search for other works by this author on:
James D. Howard
James D. Howard
Skidaway Institute of Oceanography Savannah, Georgia
Search for other works by this author on:
SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
41
ISBN electronic:
9781565760950
Publication date:
January 01, 1987

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal