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Post-glacial flooding of the Bering Land Bridge dated to 11 cal ka BP based on new geophysical and sediment records

Journal article
Authors Martin Jakobsson
Christof Pearce
Thomas M. Cronin
Jan Backman
Leif G Anderson
Natalia Barrientos
Göran Björk
Helen Coxall
Agatha De Boer
Larry A. Mayer
Carl Magnus Mörth
Johan Nilsson
Jayne E. Rattray
Christian Stranne
Igor Semiletov
Matt O'Regan
Published in Climate of the Past
Volume 13
Pages 991-1005
ISSN 1814-9324
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of marine sciences
Pages 991-1005
Language en
Links https://www.clim-past.net/13/991/20...
Subject categories Climate Research

Abstract

© Author(s) 2017. The Bering Strait connects the Arctic and Pacific oceans and separates the North American and Asian landmasses. The presently shallow ( ĝ1/4 53 m) strait was exposed during the sea level lowstand of the last glacial period, which permitted human migration across a land bridge today referred to as the Bering Land Bridge. Proxy studies (stable isotope composition of foraminifera, whale migration into the Arctic Ocean, mollusc and insect fossils and paleobotanical data) have suggested a range of ages for the Bering Strait reopening, mainly falling within the Younger Dryas stadial (12.9-11.7 cal ka BP). Here we provide new information on the deglacial and post-glacial evolution of the Arctic-Pacific connection through the Bering Strait based on analyses of geological and geophysical data from Herald Canyon, located north of the Bering Strait on the Chukchi Sea shelf region in the western Arctic Ocean. Our results suggest an initial opening at about 11 cal ka BP in the earliest Holocene, which is later than in several previous studies. Our key evidence is based on a well-dated core from Herald Canyon, in which a shift from a near-shore environment to a Pacific-influenced open marine setting at around 11 cal ka BP is observed. The shift corresponds to meltwater pulse 1b (MWP1b) and is interpreted to signify relatively rapid breaching of the Bering Strait and the submergence of the large Bering Land Bridge. Although the precise rates of sea level rise cannot be quantified, our new results suggest that the late deglacial sea level rise was rapid and occurred after the end of the Younger Dryas stadial.

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