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#410197 - 06/20/11 02:17 PM Sea-level Change History Study in Belize
Marty Offline
NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) is currently installing precise-positioning infrastructure and conducting fieldwork off the coast of Belize in Central America to assist the Smithsonian Institution in reconstructing sea-level change history since the last ice age. NGS will use this opportunity to conduct a series of simultaneous Global Navigation Satellite System observations on several islands.

This study is an attempt to reconstruct relative sea level for the past 10,000 years. The mangrove islands in Belize are ideally suited for this purpose, because they are tectonically stable and isolated from the influence of human activity, land-derived sediment, and fresh water. An accurate reconstruction of sea-level history since the last ice age is important to the development of models and the identification of rapid climatic events that may have occurred.

Hydro International

#410200 - 06/20/11 02:27 PM Re: Sea-level Change History Study in Belize [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
When I dive the Blue Hole I've noticed that the thickness of the old ceiling is 110' and the Stalagmites are all the way down to 170 feet, so since they are formed by dripping water in air I'm assuming that at sometime in the distant past the ocean was at least 170' shallower.
No charge for that info NOAA :-0
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#410234 - 06/20/11 08:05 PM Re: Sea-level Change History Study in Belize [Re: elbert]
PROBUS Offline
I believe sea levels are supposed to have been 100mtr (330ft) lower during the last glacial period.

#410239 - 06/20/11 08:35 PM Re: Sea-level Change History Study in Belize [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
That's the appropriate depth of the Blue Hole.
I sometimes assume people know what the blue Hole is and don't bother to explain.
The round hole you see in all the photos is the collapsed ceiling of an ancient cave believed to be on dry land before the last ice age. The ceiling thickness is about 110 feet, so as you go down its fairly featureless until you get to 110' then the cave/cavern rim has Stalagmites and stalactites, it was probably several chambers and the sandy bottom is littered with broken Stalagmites and stalactites at 330-370'more than likely fallen from the collapse of the ceiling.
Jacques Cousteau in the 60's brought up two of the Stalagmites to cut them open and try and date them and the Hole.
One he left here in Belize City and is now at the Bliss Institute ,I believe.
I don't know if he got an age estimation from it.
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#410254 - 06/20/11 11:30 PM Re: Sea-level Change History Study in Belize [Re: Marty]
AJ Baxter Offline
In geological time, sea level has gone up and down many times. The primary factors driving sea level are tectonic uplift or subsidence of the landmass, and the storage or release of water (as ice) from the poles. When glaciation was at it's maximum, sea level was at it's lowest point. The USGS estimates the global sea level was 125 m below its current elevation 20,000 years ago. Reefal material and carbonate banks were exposed to freshwater rain. Limestone is soluble in fresh water and the water will gradually dissolve the rock to form a cave system. If the roof of the cave collapses you will create a sinkhole, cenote or bluehole. Sinkholes are a natural and common feature in areas with limestone bedrock and ample rainfall. Take a tour on Google Earth at about 30,000 ft elevation over Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida and Middle Caicos Island for abundant examples. Virtually every natural circular "pond" on your tour is likely a 'flooded skylight' into a cave system (depending on sun angle and reflections, these will look like black or white circles with no drainage into or out of them). Beware of cloud shadows while you take your tour! The bulk of all fresh water flow on the Yucatan is via these cave systems.

Edited by aj baxter (06/20/11 11:47 PM)
Allan AJ Baxter
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