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  • Sea level in the Discovery Islands 14,300 years ago

    IN 2018, a group of scientists working with Quadra Island's Hakai Institute published a study that showed how sea level has varied since the last period of glaciation. The research was led by archaeologist Daryl Fedje of Hakai and the University of Victoria.

    Fedje's study noted, "Here marine shorelines dating to the time of earliest post-glacial emergence are at least 197 metres above present-day sea level at 14,300 years ago. RSL [relative sea level] fell rapidly, reaching two to three metres above present-day by 12,000 years ago. A series of raised marine terraces at [approximately] 4, 10 and 30 metres above present day high tide level suggest the rapid fall in RSL during early post-glacial time may have been briefly interrupted by factors such as regional ice advances and recessions and global meltwater pulses generated by climatic variations. A possible minor sea-level transgression of 1–2 m around 12,000 to 11,400 years ago was followed by slow regression to modern levels. This sea-level reconstruction is providing critical input for efficient discovery and cataloging of late Pleistocene and early Holocene archaeological sites on ancient raised shorelines in the region. Integration of the sea-level history with LiDAR imagery has proven successful in locating a number of archaeological sites on these ancient shorelines."

    The graphic below shows where sea level would be if it were approximately 197 metres (646 feet) above current mean sea level. We have created a graphic of the study's sea-level sequence here. 

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