US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Quaternary Science Reviews 25 (2006) 235–262.


New high-precision thermal ionization mass-spectrometric (TIMS) U-series ages of solitary corals (Balanophyllia elegans) from several marine terrace localities along the California and southern Oregon coasts date to the ~80,000 yr BP high stand of sea, correlative with marine isotope substage 5a, late in the last interglacial complex. Ages of multiple corals from localities north of Point Año Nuevo (central California) and San Nicolas Island (southern California) suggest that this high sea stand could have lasted at least 8000 yr, from ~84,000 to ~76,000 yr BP. These ages overlap with those from marine deposits on tectonically stable Bermuda and tectonically emergent Barbados. Higher-elevation terraces at two California localities, in the Palos Verdes Hills and on San Nicolas Island, have corals with ages that range mostly from ~121,000 to ~116,000 yr BP, correlative with marine isotope substage 5e. These ages are similar to those reported for other terraces in southern California but are younger than some ages reported from Hawaii, Barbados and the Bahamas.