Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sea Caves Reveal Rapid Rise in Ancient Ocean Levels

Sea levels can rise and fall fast, even during an ice age, according to new research

Mallorca, February 12, 2010 - Spain's largest island, is not just a desirable place for a Mediterranean vacation; it's also a treasure trove of the geologic record. That's because of coastal caves that precisely record in stone formations sea level thanks to the island's long-term geologic stability; it has been relatively unaffected by tectonics or glacial uplift or subsidence.

More disturbingly, the record suggests that sea level can rise or fall as fast as two meters a century—nearly 12 times as fast as sea level rise in the past 100 years and indicating the potential for a meter of sea-level rise within one human lifetime. "This has major implications for future concerns with sea-level change," says geoscientist Jeffrey Dorale of the University of Iowa, lead author of the new research published in the February 12 issue of Science. "Our study indicates rapid rates of ice melting and ice formation. The mechanisms underlying these dramatic changes need further consideration as we look to a future of impending climate changes." More >>>