Abstract

A new relative sea-level curve is presented for St. George’s Bay, southwest Newfoundland, based on (i)a revised stratigraphic framework and depositional model for glacial and marine deposits exposed in coastal sections and (ii) 19 new radiocarbon dates on shells from emerged and submerged marine deposits, including fossiliferous diamictons. The data produce a type B sea-level curve, falling steeply from an extrapolated marine limit of 105 m above sea level at 14.0 14C ka BP, passing below modern sea level at ∼10.6 14C ka BP, to a lowstand of –25 m at ∼9.4 14CkaBP, and rising again close to modern sea level by 5.0 14C ka BP. Marine limits in the northern part of the bay have lower elevations (27–65 m) due to delayed ice retreat of up to 1.2 ka. Between 12.8 and at least 12.3 14C ka BP, glaciofluvial outwash graded to falling sea levels between 27 and 17 m above present throughout the bay, whereas lowstand deltas were constructed in sheltered locations at the outlets of major river systems, when sea level was 25 m below present. Establishment of the sea-level lowstand at ∼9.4 14C ka BP is supported by new seismic data and radiocarbon dates from St. George’s Bay and also from White Bear Bay on the south coast of Newfoundland. Short-term fluctuations in emergence rates of 1–2 m/century between 12.5 and 9.5 14C ka BP are attributed to variable eustatic sea-level rise, superimposed on a declining local glacio-isostatic adjustment.

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