Sea-level history and tectonic uplift during the last-interglacial period (LIG): Inferred from the Bab al-Mandab coral reef terraces, southern Red Sea

Ahmed Saif Al-Mikhlafi, Lawrence R. Edwards, Hai Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Results of U-series dating of late Pleistocene raised coral reef terraces from the Bab al-Mandab area, define two distinct groups: (1) well-preserved aragonitic fossil corals recorded from the Al-Hajaja terrace (Tr3) yield ages for last-interglacial period (LIG); and (2) calcitic fossil corals recovered from Perim Island terrace (Tr1) show varying degrees of U-series open system behavior and yield coral assemblage ages of LIG and older ages. Fossil corals from Tr1 are recrystallized corals, have anomalously high initial δ234U ranged from (152 ± 2‰ to 287 ± 7‰), corresponding to ages of ∼120 ka and ∼406 ka, respectively. Applying age reliability criteria on the current data suggest majority of the ages cannot be considered reliable and all are suspected for open system behavior associated with U loss/addition that significantly affects the 230Th/U ages. The diagenesis shown by these corals occurred probably due to extensive interaction of fossil corals with freshwater during the wet periods prevailed in southern Arabia coeval with the African monsoon, which led to U loss. Post-depositional U loss suggest (230Th/238U) increase, which shift the U-Th ages to unexpectedly higher levels as it is shown here. Measured elevation at the Al-Hajaja terrace (Tr3) is ∼4 ± 2 m above present sea level (apsl) consistent with eustatic sea level changes and indicates that the Bab al-Mandab area is stable at least since the LIG period. The Perim Island terrace (Tr1) is at elevation of 7 ± 2 m apsl; its reef yields diageneticaly-altered corals of multiple ages and cannot be used for sea level reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Volume138
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Keywords

  • Chronology
  • Diagenesis
  • Isostasy
  • LIG
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Terraces

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