A postglacial relative sea-level database for the Russian Arctic coast

Publication type

Journal Article

Research Area


Research Team

Sea Level Research

Research Project

Holocene Sea-level Databases


We present the first quality-controlled relative sea-level (RSL) database for the Russian Arctic coast from the Barents Sea in the west to Laptev Sea in the east (29-152 degrees E and 63 to 81 degrees N). The database consists of 385 sea-level index points and 249 limiting dates and spans 24 ka to present. Sea-level indicators are derived from multiple proxies, including isolation basins, raised beaches, glacial erratics, marine terraces, laidas (salt marshes), and deltaic salt marshes. Here, we calculate the indicative meanings for all indicators and evaluated possible elevation errors. We have estimated the ages and uncertainties of index points and limiting dates using the most recent calibration datasets. In the western Russian Arctic (Barents and White Seas), RSL was driven by glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) due to deglaciation of the Eurasian ice sheet complex. For example, within the Baltic crystalline shield, RSL fell rapidly from 80 to 100 mat 11-12 ka to 15-25 mat similar to 4-5 ka. In the Arctic Islands of Franz-Joseph Land and Novaya Zemlya, RSL gradually fell from 25 to 35 mat 9 ka to 5-10 mat 3 ka. The Timan coast and the Kara Sea shelf are characterized by constant RSL rise due to proglacial forebulge collapse; Yamal and the Gydan Peninsula and Novaya Zemlya are all marked by a high LGM position of RSL, followed by a lowstand and consequent rise to a late Holocene highstand of several meters. Data from the Laptev Sea coasts and shelf and the New Siberian Islands demonstrate post-LGM RSL rise with a Holocene highstand of up to 5-10 m, with scatter caused by differential tectonic movements along a diffuse lithospheric plate boundary. The collected database allowed to estimate and discuss the reasons of both spatial and temporal variability of RSL histories in different parts of the Russian Arctic.

Publication Details


Quaternary Science Reviews





Date Published


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