Holocene isostatic uplift of the South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, modelled from raised beaches

Peter Fretwell, Dominic Hodgson, Emma Watcham, Michael Bentley, Stephen J. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


We present new isobases constraining the Holocene isostatic uplift of the SouthShetlandIslands, northern Antarctic Peninsula, based on evidence from raised shorelines. Holocene shorelines were described and surveyed at fifteen sites to determine the spatial variability of relative sea level (RSL) change across the South Shetland Islands, and provide new spatial RSL change corrections for the region. Results show that the highest shoreline is a transgressive feature, correlated by geomorphological evidence on most exposed coastlines of the archipelago. Its surveyed height was corrected for local variability in wave energy by subtracting the measured altitude of the present day shoreline. These corrected surveyed heights of the highest raised beach were modelled using quadratic polynomial trend surface analysis to constrain differing rates of regional isostatic uplift. We present two isobase models of isostatic uplift since formation of the highest Holocene raised beach circa 7360–7000 years ago. These models suggests a maximum uplift of ca 20 m was centred on an area north of Greenwich Island, with isobases implying an elongate zone of uplift orientated east-southeast to west-northwest along the spine of the island chain. This corresponds well with previously published geomorphologically based estimates of palaeo ice-extent and the deglaciation history of the South Shetland Islands and gives new context to the palaeo ice-extent and glacial history of the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1880-1893
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Issue number15-16
Early online date6 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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