Identification of sea-level proxies is important for reconstruction of past sea-level variation. Methods for reconstructing Holocene relative sea-level curves are crucial for quantification of the impact of Greenland ice thickness variation on global sea level and vertical land movement. Arctic beach ridges constitute important potential archives of sea-level variation. However, their surface morphology may have undergone modification since deposition due to freezing/thawing processes and erosion, and their morphology may therefore not be trustworthy for sea-level reconstruction. Therefore, geophysical imaging is used to examine the internal structures of the beach ridges and to define a sea-level proxy unaffected by surface processes. The GPR reflections from study sites in West and South Greenland show deposition of beachface deposits and upper shoreface deposits; the contact between steeply dipping beachface reflections and less-dipping shoreface reflections is used as sea-level proxy. Numerous points are identified along GPR transects facilitating reconstruction of relative sea-level variation of hitherto unprecedented resolution. Erosional events and deformation caused by freezing/thawing processes are clearly delineated. The approach constitutes a solid base for reconstruction of relative sea-level curves affected by a well-defined vertical land movement history since the studied beach ridge systems represent long time intervals and only relatively small spatial extents.
Cites: Science. 2011 Aug 5;333(6043):747-5021817051