Glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) imparts geographic variability in the amplitude and timing of local sea-level (LSL) change arising from glacial-interglacial oscillations relative to a global mean signal (eustasy). We modeled how GIA manifests in the stratigraphic record across four shelf-perpendicular transects moving progressively more distal to the Quaternary North American ice complex, subject to varying amounts of GIA during glacial-interglacial cycles. Along each transect, we obtained LSL histories for nine sites between 1 m and 250 m water depth from the output of a gravitationally self-consistent GIA model run from marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 11 to the present. We paired each site’s unique LSL history with 50 identical annual sedimentation models to create a library of 400-k.y.-duration synthetic stratigraphic columns (each assuming no tectonics). Comparison of the suite of synthetic stratigraphic columns between transects for a given bathymetric depth reveals latitudinal differences in the stratigraphically determined number, magnitude, and age of glacial-interglacial cycles, as inferred from stratigraphic sequence count, apparent water-depth change, and age of preserved deglacial transgression. We conclude that, for many field locales, extraction of primary information about the number, scale, and duration of pre-Cenozoic glacial-interglacial cycles from continental shelf stratigraphic records near ice sheets demands a deconvolution of the GIA signal.

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