Geomorphic features (fossil terraces, notches and sea cliffs) from the southern Red Sea coasts provide valuable indicators of past sea-level change that enable the quantification of both the timing and magnitude of the mid-Holocene sea-level highstand. We demonstrate the utility of wave-cut notches in the southern Red Sea, and present U-series dated sea-level indicators from two locations on the As-Salif Peninsula that suggest a mid-Holocene highstand of ∼0.5–1 m above present mean sea level (apmsl) at about 5–5.4 ka BP. In addition, the similarity of the elevations of the different sea-level indicators at the two locations in As-Salif Peninsula and Kamran Island suggest relative tectonic stability, with limited influence of salt diapirism. Comparison of our data to other estimates of the Red Sea mid-Holocene highstand, and glacio-isostatic predictions suggest that water loading (and deformational response) is the primary factor in the spatial and temporal variability the mid-Holocene highstand, with some possible localized tectonic and neotectonic overprinting.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by U.S Fulbright Association and is a research scholarship given to the first author. Hai Cheng acknowledges NSF financial support ( NSFC 41888101 ). The help extended by Prof. Mohammed Al-Wosabi and Dr. Aref Al-Sageer during the fieldwork is gratefully acknowledged. Many thanks go to Julie Retrum, Mellissa Cross, Yanbin for their help during U-isotope analysis at the University of Minnesota. Special thanks go to Rick Knurr for assistance in XRD analysis. Einas Al-Alimey, a Cultural Affairs Specialist at the U.S Embassy in Sana’a was of great help to this study. We are most grateful to Christopher Hein (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) for detailed reviews and comments that led to substantial improvements to this work.
- Coastal geomorphology
- Fossil corals
- Mid-holocene sea level
- Red sea
- U-series dating
- Wave-cut notches