The last interglacial sea-level high stand on the southern Cape coastline of South Africa
journal contributionposted on 05.05.2016, 14:05 by Andrew S. Carr, Mark D. Bateman, David L. Roberts, Colin V. Murray-Wallace, Zenobia Jacobs, Peter J. Holmes
The continental margin of southern South Africa exhibits an array of emergent marginal marine sediments permitting the reconstruction of long-term eustatic sea-level changes. We report a suite of optical luminescence ages and supplementary amino acid racemization data, which provide paleosea-level index points for three sites on this coastline. Deposits in the Swartvlei and Groot Brak estuaries display tidal inlet facies overlain by shoreface or eolian facies. Contemporary facies relations suggest a probable high stand 6.0-8.5 m above modern sea level (amsl). At Cape Agulhas, evidence of a past sea-level high stand comprises a gravel beach (ca. 3.8 m amsl) and an overlying sandy shoreface facies (up to 7.5 m amsl). OSL ages between 138 ± 7 ka and 118 ± 7 ka confirm a last interglacial age for all marginal marine facies. The high stand was followed by a sea-level regression that was associated with the accumulation of eolian dunes dating to between 122 ± 7 ka and 113 ± 6 ka. These data provide the first rigorous numerical age constraints for last interglacial sea-level fluctuations in this region, revealing the timing and elevation of the last interglacial high stand to broadly mirror a number of other far-field locations.