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Rapid Holocene sea-level and climate change in the Black Sea; an evaluation of the Balabanov sea-level curve

Ronald E. Martin and Valentina Yanko-Hombach
Rapid Holocene sea-level and climate change in the Black Sea; an evaluation of the Balabanov sea-level curve (in Geology and geoarchaeology of the Black Sea region; beyond the flood hypothesis, Ilya V. Buynevich (editor), Valentina Yanko-Hombach (editor), Allan S. Gilbert (editor) and Ronald E. Martin (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (January 2011) 473: 51-58

Abstract

The investigation of rapid sea-level and climate change is critical to understanding the geologic history of the Black Sea and its effect on ancient civilizations of the region and adjacent areas. The current consensus of western scientists is that only local sea-level curves may be constructed because of local-to-regional changes in sedimentation, tectonics, and other factors. Recently, however, I. P. Balabanov published a synoptic sea-level curve for the entire Black Sea that spans the Pleistocene-Holocene transition and the Holocene based on older radiocarbon dates. This curve has been heavily criticized and is viewed skeptically by western workers for the reasons already mentioned as well as the use of questionable methodologies. Here, we examine Balabanov's curve in light of these criticisms by comparing his sea-level curve to other independently derived sea-level and environmental indices. We find that, despite its drawbacks, many of the fluctuations of the Balabanov curve coincide with repeated ocean-atmosphere reorganizations, which involve shifts from cool to warm phases and corresponding changes in the species composition of foraminiferal assemblage ecozones, precipitation, and runoff. We suggest that following the initial invasion of the Black Sea by marine Mediterranean waters during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, climatic amelioration (warming) following each cool phase of an ocean-atmosphere reorganization resulted in shifting precipitation patterns that produced repeated, rapid freshwater discharges into the Black Sea from surrounding rivers. In this scenario, runoff following each reorganization temporarily altered the species composition of foraminiferal assemblages, as noted in earlier studies. Freshwater discharges during the Holocene were likely lower than those envisioned by Balabanov but may have affected sea level sufficiently to alter coastal geomorphology and coastal aquifers rapidly, while causing the translocation of settlements from areas where submarine archaeological sites are now situated. Sea-level and climate change during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition may have been similar to that of the Holocene, but greatly amplified.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 473
Title: Rapid Holocene sea-level and climate change in the Black Sea; an evaluation of the Balabanov sea-level curve
Title: Geology and geoarchaeology of the Black Sea region; beyond the flood hypothesis
Author(s): Martin, Ronald E.Yanko-Hombach, Valentina
Author(s): Buynevich, Ilya V.editor
Author(s): Yanko-Hombach, Valentinaeditor
Author(s): Gilbert, Allan S.editor
Author(s): Martin, Ronald E.editor
Affiliation: University of Delaware, Department of Geological Sciences, Newark, DE, United States
Affiliation: Temple University, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Pages: 51-58
Published: 201101
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2473-7
References: 60
Accession Number: 2011-036702
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table
N41°00'00" - N47°00'00", E28°00'00" - E42°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Avalon Institute of Applied Science, CAN, CanadaOdessa National I. I. Mechnikov University, UKR, UkraineFordham University, USA, United StatesUniversity of Delaware, USA, United StatesOdessa National I. I. Mechnikov University, UKR, Ukraine
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201121
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