A global compilation of U-series-dated fossil coral sea-level indicators for the Last Interglacial period (Marine Isotope Stage 5e)
This dataset is a comprehensive, global compilation of published uranium–thorium (U-series) dated fossil coral records from ∼ 150 000–110 000 years ago, as well as associated elevation measurements and sample metadata. In total, 1312 U-series measurements from 994 unique coral colonies are included in the current version of the dataset, all of which have been normalized and recalculated using the same decay constant values. Of these measurements, 444 analyses from 330 colonies are relative sea-level indicators, whereas 15 analyses from 13 colonies are marine limiting. Two example geochemical screening criteria have been included to assist users with identifying altered fossil corals that display geochemical open-system behavior, and the originally published interpretations on age quality have been preserved within the sample metadata. Additionally, a clear distinction has been made between coral colonies that are in primary growth position, which may be used for relative sea-level reconstructions, and colonies that have been transported/reworked, which cannot be used for these purposes. Future research efforts involving fossil coral sea-level reconstructions should emphasize an “integrated” and holistic approach that combines careful assessment of U-series age quality with high-precision surveying techniques and detailed facies/stratigraphic observations. This database is available at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4309796 (Chutcharavan and Dutton, 2020).
U-series ages have been reported for multiple outcrops of the LIG Hato unit on the island of Curaçao, for a total of 25 ages from 15 unique coral colonies (Hamelin et al., 1991; Muhs et al., 2012b; for a regional overview, see Rubio-Sandoval et al., 2021). Curaçao is slowly uplifting, with an estimated uplift rate of 0.026 to 0.054 m/kyr, based on the “highest inner edge” elevation of the Hato unit at 12.4 m (Muhs et al., 2012b). In total, the study authors accepted five U-series ages from four unique coral specimens. Under the strict screening protocol, this is reduced to a single age of 118.8 ± 0.8 kyr from sample SC78-005-002. The flexible protocol adds three additional ages: two from MU12-001, with a weighted mean age of 126.6 ± 0.7 kyr, and an age of 118.7 ± 1.2 kyr from coral SC78-002-002.
All samples which passed the flexible screening criteria were in primary growth position. Based on the paleoenvironmental interpretations of Muhs et al. (2012b), samples SC78-005 and MU12-001 were part of an Acropora palmatadominated reef crest facies growing in 0–5 m water depth, which we adopted for this study. Paleoenvironmental interpretations and stratigraphic context were not provided for sample SC78-002. Therefore, the modern depth distribution for Diploria spp. was applied in this case (OBIS, 2014)