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North Flinders Reef (Coral Sea, Australia) Porites sp. corals as a candidate Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the Anthropocene Series

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Duprey,  Nicolas
Climate Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Martinez-Garcia,  Alfredo
Climate Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Zinke, J., Cantin, N. E., DeLong, K. L., Palmer, K., Boom, A., Hajdas, I., et al. (2023). North Flinders Reef (Coral Sea, Australia) Porites sp. corals as a candidate Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the Anthropocene Series. The Anthropocene Review, 10. doi:10.1177/20530196221142963.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-DEC6-B
Abstract
Corals are unique in the suite of proposed Anthropocene Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) archives, as living organisms that produce aragonite exoskeletons preserved in the geological record that contain highly accurate and precise (<±1 year) internal chronologies. The GSSP candidate site North Flinders Reef in the Coral Sea (Australia) is an offshore oceanic reef, and therefore less vulnerable to local human influences than those closer to the coast. Here, we present geochemical records from two Porites sp. corals sampled at an annual to pluri-annual (i.e. 3–5 years) resolution that shows clear global and regional human impacts. Atmospheric nuclear bomb testing by-products (14C,239+240Pu) show a clear increase in the Flinders Reef corals coincident with well-dated nuclear testing operations. By contrast, the radionuclides 241Am and 137Cs are present at low or undetectable levels, as are spheroidal carbonaceous fly-ash particles. Coral δ13C shows centennial variability likely influenced by growth effects in the 18th century and with a progression to lower values starting in 1880 and accelerating post-1970. The latter may be related to the Suess Effect resulting from 13C-depleted fossil fuel burning. Coral δ15N decreased between 1710 and 1954 with a reversal post-1954. Coral temperature proxies indicate prominent centennial variability with equally warm conditions in the 18th and end of 20th century. However, the exact mechanisms responsible for the mid-20th century changes in these parameters need to be scrutinised in further detail.