Stratigraphy and whole-rock amino acid geochronology of key Holocene and last interglacial carbonate deposits in the Hawaiian Islands

P. J. Hearty, Darrell S Kaufman, S. L. Olson, H. F. James

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Abstract

We evaluated the utility of whole-rock amino acid racemization as a method for the stratigraphic correlation and dating of carbonate sediments in the Hawaiian Islands. D-alloisoleucine/L-isoleucine (A/I) ratios were determined for carbonate sand and sandstone samples from 25 localities in the archipelago. The superposition of A/I ratios within stratigraphic sections and the regional concordance of ratios within geological formations support the integrity of the method. To correlate the A/I ratios with an absolute chronology, comparisons were made with previously published uranium series dates on corals and with 14C dates on carbonate sand and organic material, including several new dates reported herein. The A/I mean from four marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e U-series calibration sites was 0.505=0.027 (n = 11), and 12 "test sites" of previously uncertain or speculative geochronological age yielded an A/I mean of 0.445 ± 0.058 (n = 17). Similarly, extensive Holocene dunes on Moloka'i and Kaua'i were correlated by a mean A/I ratio of 0.266 ± 0.022 (n = 8) and equated with a 14C bulk sediment mean age of 8600yr B.P. Our results indicate that the eolian dunes currently exposed in various localities in the Islands originated primarily during two major periods of dune formation, the last interglacial (MIS 5e) and the early Holocene (MIS 1). MIS 5e and MIS 1 A/I ratios from the Hawaiian Islands show close agreement with previous whole-rock studies in Bermuda and the Bahamas. We discuss these results in terms of their relevance to models of lithospheric flexure and to imposing constraints on the time frame for the extinction of fossil birds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-442
Number of pages20
JournalPacific Science
Volume54
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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marine isotope stage
Last Interglacial
geochronology
stratigraphy
amino acid
Holocene
carbonate
rock
dune
dune formation
racemization
sand
stratigraphic correlation
carbonate sediment
flexure
archipelago
chronology
uranium
coral
extinction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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Stratigraphy and whole-rock amino acid geochronology of key Holocene and last interglacial carbonate deposits in the Hawaiian Islands. / Hearty, P. J.; Kaufman, Darrell S; Olson, S. L.; James, H. F.

In: Pacific Science, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2000, p. 423-442.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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