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The most recent glacial-interglacial transition of the late Pleistocene ice age was accompanied by an increase in globally averaged ice-equivalent eustatic sea level of ∼120 m. This increase in sea level occurred over a period of ∼10,000 yr and was accompanied by highly significant regional inundations of the land by the sea as well as by significant regional emergence of the land from the sea in the initially ice-covered regions. These migrations of the coastline can be accurately predicted given only an assumed known history of the deglaciation of the continents. An especially interesting aspect of the suite of physical interactions involved in the global process of glacial isostatic adjustment concerns the influence of variations in the Earth's rotation on the local histories of relative sea level, which may be inferred on the basis of radiocarbon dating of suitable sea-level index points. The observed variability in sea level may be interpreted in terms of fundamentally important climatological and solid Earth geophysical properties of Earth System processes that govern system evolution.

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