Research Topics (RT) 7

Synthesis of Holocene sea level records along eastern South America and comparisons with records from West Africa

The famous Brazilian sea level record (Martin et al., 1979, 1979; Martin & Suguio, 1992; Suguio et al., 1980, 1984) include two high-amplitude oscillations; a 2.5-4.0 m oscillation at around 4000 BP and a 2.8 m oscillation at around 2700 BP (Fig. 7-7-1). These two events have been traced over a very large coastal zone area. The regressions are said to be backed up by stratigraphic indications. The verification of these high-amplitude oscillations remains one of the most important topics in present day sea level research. It is of great significance that Wong (1992) seems to have recorded the same oscillations in Guyana. Their reality in Brazil and northern Argentina has been seriously questioned by Angulo & Lessa (1997), however.

Fig. 7-7-1. Sea level curve of Brazil (from Martin & Suguio, 1992) with alternating submergence and emergence marked.

The Brazilian oscillations seems only understandable in therms of some sort of super-ENSO event (e.g. Mörner, 1995). It is, therefore, reasonable to make comparisons with the West African records (e.g. Faure, 1980), too.

Commissional note


Angulo, R.J. & Lessa, G., 1997. The Brazilian sea level curves: a critical review with emphasis on the curves from Paranaguá and Cananéia region. Marine Geol., 140, 141-166.

Faure, H., 1980. Late Cenozoic vertical movements in Africa. In: N.-A. Mörner (Ed.) Earth Rheology, Isostasy and Eustasy, p. 465-469. John Wiley & Sons.

Martin, L., Flexor, J-M., Boas, G.S.V., Bittencourt, A.C.S.P. & Guimaraes, M.M.M., 1979. Courbe de variation du niveau relatif de la mer au cours des 7000 dernières années sur un sector homogène du littoral brésilien (nord de Salvador-Bahia). In: Proc. 1978 Intern. Symp. on Coastal Evolution in the Quaternary (K. Suguio, T.R. Fairchild, L. Martin & J.-M. Flexor, Eds.), Sao Paulo, p. 264-274.

Martin, L., Suguio, K. & Flexor, J.-M., 1979b. Le Quaternaire marin du littoral brésilien entre Cananeia (SP) et Barre de Guaratiba (RJ). In: Proc. 1978 Intern. Symp. on Coastal Evolution in the Quaternary (K. Suguio, T.R. Fairchild, L. Martin & J.-M. Flexor, Eds.), Sao Paulo, p. 296-331.

Martin, L. & Suguio, K., 1992. Variations of coastal dynamics during the last 7000 years recorded in the beach-ridge plains associated with river mouths: example from the central Brazilian coast. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclim. Palaeoecol., 99, 119-140.

Mörner, N.-A., 1995. Earth rotation, ocean circulation and paleoclimate. GeoJournal, 37, 419-430.

Suguio, K., Martin, L. & Flexor, J.-M., 1980. Sea level fluctuations during the past 6000 years along the coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In: Earth Rheology, Isostasy and Eustasy (N.-A. Mörner, Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, p. 471-486.

Suguio, K., Martin, L., Dominguez, J.M.L, Bittencourt, A.C.S.P. & Flexor, J.-M., 1984. Quaternary emergent and submergent coasts/comparison of the Holocene sedimentation in Brazil and southeastern United States. An. Acad. bres. Ci., 56, 163-167.

Wong, T.E., 1992. Quateranry stratigraphy of Suriname. In: M.-T. Prost (Ed.), Èvolution des littoreaux de Guyane et de la zone Caraïbe Méridionale pendant le Quaternaire, p. 559-578. ORSTOM, Paris.