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Interaction Between Climate and Tectonics in the Northern Lesser Antilles Inferred From the Last Interglacial Shoreline on Barbuda Island

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anne-Sophie Meriaux



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2022. The Authors. In the context of increasing evidence of plate interface coupling variability in subduction zones, there is a need to extend the short time window given by instrumental data and to gather data over multiple time and spatial scales. We hence investigated the long-term topography on Barbuda island, located in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, west of the Caribbean subduction zone. Following pioneering work using a set of marine terraces on the eastern side of the island, we performed the first U-Th dating on 10 corals in growth position from the lowest terrace, for which the highest relative sea-level (RSL) indicator is found at 9 ± 1 m above the mean sea level. We find that this terrace corresponds to the Last Interglacial (LIG) (ages between 122.8 ± 0.3 ka and 128.1 ± 0.3 ka) and we estimate a paleo RSL of 7 ± 2 m above the current mean sea level. The present elevation of the LIG shoreline on Barbuda might imply tectonics as an additional mechanism to eustatic sea level, mantle dynamic topography and glacial isostatic adjustment. East-west morphological asymmetry of Barbuda and difference in LIG shoreline elevation between Barbuda and Antigua suggest a regional tectonic process. As with the proposed westward tilting from the forearc to the volcanic arc of the Guadeloupe archipelago, vertical deformation on Barbuda could be related to plate-scale subduction processes. Long-term uplift of Barbuda might be related to the accumulation of residual coseismic deformation not fully recovered by interseismic subsidence and the corresponding seismogenic segment would extend below the Moho.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Weil-Accardo J, Feuillet N, Philibosian B, Guihou A, Jacques E, Cabioch G, Anglade A, Meriaux A-S, Deschamps P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Year: 2022

Volume: 23

Issue: 5

Print publication date: 01/05/2022

Online publication date: 24/04/2022

Acceptance date: 21/04/2022

Date deposited: 09/06/2022

ISSN (electronic): 1525-2027

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1029/2021GC010045


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Funder referenceFunder name
CNRS | Institut national des sciences de l'Univers. Grant Number: ALEAS