The findings indicate that glacial rebound — the rise or fall of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period — explains differences in relative sea levels along the English coast.
Current sea levels in Northeast England, the most northerly study area, have been receding to their present level for the past 4,000 years. Unlike Northeast England, however, the Tees Estuary, Humber Estuary, Lincolnshire Marshes, Fenlands and North Norfolk area all reveal sea-level histories trending upward during the past 10,000 years.
Using data from sediment cores up to 20 meters deep, researchers found that sediment compaction explained the variations in sea-level observations at every study area, revealing striking correlations to the thickness of overlying sediment.
Coastal subsidence enhances recent sea-level rise, which leads to shoreline erosion and threatens to permanently submerge socio-economically and environmentally valuable wetlands. Yet the causes of subsidence remain controversial, and estimates of subsidence rates vary widely. This collaborative study offers insight into the future behavior of these environmental systems and is an effort to inform policy and management decisions for coastal protection.
“Rising sea levels threaten to permanently submerge wetland environments,” said Benjamin P. Horton, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Penn. “Management decisions regarding the best way to intervene to protect these environments depend upon empirically informed, scientific data for each of the processes operating in wetland systems, including sediment compaction. This is a high-profile topic, which is subject to a great deal of controversy, especially concerning the on-going discussions of why deltas around the world are losing wetlands at a particularly alarming rate.”
The study is published in the current issue of the journal Geology and was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the Natural Environment Research Council.
It was performed by Horton and by Ian Shennan of the Department of Geography at Durham University in the United Kingdom.
Jordan Reese | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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