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Fossil coral reefs show sea-level rose in bursts during last warming

Nature Communications published an open access paper reporting the outcomes of a sea level rise study conducted on R/V Falkor in 2012.

High resolution 3D maps of about a dozen of drowned coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico acquired by R/V Falkor indicate that all fossil reefs are structured into multiple large flat terraces, separated by 3-4 meters of depth.  This finding indicates that sea level rose in rapid, decade-scale bursts during the most recent de-glaciation, about 12,000 years ago.

This finding disproves the earlier assumptions of a gradual nature of sea level rise, and has precarious implications for hundreds of million people who live at an elevation of a few meters above the sea level along the coasts around the world.

Associated press release from Rice University provides an overview of the findings, highlights some of the maps, and includes a 2-minute 4K YouTube video featuring R/V Falkor.


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