Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A foraminiferal proxy record of 20th century sea-level rise in the Manukau Harbour, New Zealand

Hugh R. Grenfell A C , Bruce W. Hayward A , Ritsuo Nomura B and Ashwaq T. Sabaa A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Geomarine Research, 49 Swainston Road, St Johns, Auckland, New Zealand.

B Department of Education, Shimane University, Matsue, Japan.

C Corresponding author. Email: h.grenfell@geomarine.org.nz

Marine and Freshwater Research 63(4) 370-384 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF11208
Submitted: 19 September 2011  Accepted: 8 January 2012   Published: 2 April 2012

Abstract

The present study aimed to extract a sea-level history from northern New Zealand salt-marsh sediments using a foraminiferal proxy, and to extend beyond the longest nearby tide-gauge record. Transects through high-tidal salt marsh at Puhinui, Manukau Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand, indicate a zonation of dominant foraminifera in the following order (with increasing elevation): Ammonia spp.–Elphidium excavatum, Ammotium fragile, Miliammina fusca, Haplophragmoides wilbertiTrochammina inflata, Trochamminita salsaMiliammina obliqua. The transect sample faunas are used as a training set to generate a transfer function for estimating past tidal elevations in two short cores nearby. Heavy metal, 210Pb and 137Cs isotope analyses provide age models that indicate 35 cm of sediment accumulation since ~1890 AD. The first proxy-based 20th century rates of sea-level rise from New Zealand’s North Island at 0.28 ± 0.05 cm year–1 and 0.33 ± 0.07 cm year–1 are estimated. These are faster than the nearby Auckland tide gauge for the same interval (0.17 ± 0.1 cm year–1), but comparable to a similar proxy record from southern New Zealand (0.28 ± 0.05 cm year–1) and to satellite-based observations of global sea-level rise since 1993 (0.31 ± 0.07 cm year–1).

Additional keywords: Late Holocene, sea-level record, transfer functions.


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