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Title: Two hundred thirty years of relative sea level changes due to climate and megathrust tectonics recorded in coral microatolls of Martinique (French West Indies)
Authors: Weil-Accardo, Jennifer
Feuillet, Nathalie
Jacques, Eric
Deschamps, Pierre
Beauducel, François
Cabioch, Guy
Tapponnier, Paul
Saurel, Jean-Marie
Galetzka, John
Keywords: DRNTU::Science::Geology
Coral Microatoll
Lesser Antilles Megathrust
Issue Date: 2016
Source: Weil-Accardo, J., Feuillet, N., Jacques, E., Deschamps, P., Beauducel, F., Cabioch, G., Tapponnier, P., et al. (2016). Two hundred thirty years of relative sea level changes due to climate and megathrust tectonics recorded in coral microatolls of Martinique (French West Indies). Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121(4), 2873-2903. doi:10.1002/2015JB012406
Series/Report no.: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Abstract: We sampled six coral microatolls that recorded the relative sea level changes over the last 230 years east of Martinique, on fringing reefs in protected bays. The microatolls are cup‐shaped, which is characteristic of corals that have been experiencing submergence. X‐ray analysis of coral slices and reconstructions of the highest level of survival (HLS) curves show that they have submerged at rates of a few millimeters per year. Their morphology reveals changes in submergence rate around 1829 ± 11, 1895, and 1950. Tide gauges available in the region indicate a regional sea level rise at a constant mean rate of 1.1 ± 0.8 mm/yr, which contrasts with our coral record, implying additional tectonic subsidence. Comparing our coral morphology with that of synthetic corals generated with Matlab by using the Key West tide gauge record (Florida), we show that their growth was controlled by tectonics and that a sudden relative sea level increase drowned them around 1950. Simple elastic models show that this sudden submergence probably occurred during the 21 May 1946 earthquake, which ruptured the plate interface in front of Martinique, in the mantle wedge, in an area of sustained seismic activity. The 1839 M8+ earthquake probably occurred in the same area. Long‐term subsidence of microatolls indicates that this deep portion of the megathrust is probably locked down to 60 km depth during the interseismic period. Our oldest coral recorded a long‐lasting period (50 years) of stable relative sea level after the 1839 earthquake, indicating that transient interseismic strain rate variations may occur in the Lesser Antilles.
ISSN: 2169-9313
DOI: 10.1002/2015JB012406
Rights: © 2016 American Geophysical Union. This paper was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Geophysical Union. The published version is available at: []. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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