Abstract

We first report pollen and foraminifera analyses and radiocarbon dates from two cores taken from salt-marsh deposits bordering Port au Port Bay, southwestern Newfoundland. Results show that relative sea level (RSL) stood at 2.8 m below present higher high-water level (HHWL) at 2770 ± 300 years BP and at −1.8 m at 2365 ± 175 years BP at the core sites. They permit calculation of a rate of late Holocene RSL change from western Newfoundland. We then report other available dates bearing on the earlier RSL record of this area.A date of 5800 ± 200 years BP fixes the age of minimum RSL in Port au Port Bay at 11–14 m below present. A date of 9350 ± 120 years BP from St. George's provides a minimum age for the passage of sea level below present there. A date of 12 600 ± 140 years BP from Stephenville fixes a sea level at 29 m above present, whereas one of 13 600 ± 110 years BP from Abrahams Cove dates the marine limit at 44 m. These geographically restricted data closely constrain a curve of postglacial RSL change in the Port au Port Bay – northern St. George's Bay area. The form of the curve supports a recent model predicting sea-level response to wastage of a limited late Wisconsinan ice load in the wider region.

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