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Insights on a proposed mid-Holocene highstand along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico from the evolution of small coastal ponds

Alexander R. Simms, Niranjan Aryal, Yusuke Yokoyama, Hiroyuki Matsuzaki and Regina Dewitt
Insights on a proposed mid-Holocene highstand along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico from the evolution of small coastal ponds
Journal of Sedimentary Research (October 2009) 79 (10): 757-772

Abstract

Small lakes and ponds along the margins of estuaries and lagoons contain valuable records of paleo-sea level, past storm frequencies, and climatic change. Critical to their use in such studies is an understanding of their evolution. Using aerial photos, surveyed elevation profiles, and vibracores, we describe the geomorphic and stratigraphic evolution of ponds whose sedimentary floors range in elevation from -0.8 to +0.8 m above sea level on the margins of Baffin Bay in semiarid south Texas. These ponds are in various stages of evolution providing an excellent opportunity to study their formation. We see a three-stage evolution of (1) eolian deflation and creation of pond, (2) creation of a pathway to the open bay via headward-eroding gullies, and (3) open communication with the bay via a small tidal inlet. Each of these stages of evolution has a unique sedimentary facies associated with it. Combined with elevation and age control, the sedimentary facies from these ponds and two other cores from adjacent Baffin Bay are used to evaluate a proposed mid-Holocene sea-level highstand within the Gulf of Mexico. Deposits from these cores suggest that Holocene sea level in the Gulf of Mexico did not reach above +0.4 m and did not reach above -1.2 m until sometime after 5.6 ka. Algal mats from cores in Baffin Bay suggest sea level was -7.6+ or -1.1 m 5.6 ka. The sea-level constraints suggested by these ponds are in agreement with more traditional reconstructions of sea level since the mid-Holocene within the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to testing a higher-than-present mid-Holocene highstand within the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, we also provide an evolutionary model for the development of these ponds illustrating the important interaction between eolian and estuarine processes.


ISSN: 1527-1404
EISSN: 1938-3681
Serial Title: Journal of Sedimentary Research
Serial Volume: 79
Serial Issue: 10
Title: Insights on a proposed mid-Holocene highstand along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico from the evolution of small coastal ponds
Affiliation: Oklahoma State University, Boone Pickens School of Geology, Stillwater, OK, United States
Pages: 757-772
Published: 200910
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 79
Accession Number: 2010-002713
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 5 plates, 2 tables, sketch map
N26°34'60" - N27°10'00", W98°00'00" - W97°10'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Tokyo, JPN, Japan
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201002
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