Stratigraphy and Whole-Rock Amino Acid Geochronology of Key Holocene and Last Interglacial Carbonate Deposits in the Hawaiian Islands

Hearty, Paul J.
Kaufman, Darrell S.
Olson, Storrs L.
James, Helen F.
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University of Hawai'i Press
We evaluated the utility of whole-rock amino acid racemization as a method for the stratigraphic correlation and dating of carbonate sediments in the Hawaiian Islands. D-alloisoleucine/L-isoleucine (A/I) ratios were determined for carbonate sand and sandstone samples from 25 localities in the archipelago. The superposition of A/I ratios within stratigraphic sections and the regional concordance of ratios within geological formations support the integrity of the method. To correlate the A/I ratios with an absolute chronology, comparisons were made with previously published uranium series dates on corals and with 14C dates on carbonate sand and organic material, including several new dates reported herein. The A/I mean from four marine isotope stage (MIS) 5e U-series calibration sites was 0.505 ± 0.027 (n = 11), and 12 "test sites" of previously uncertain or speculative geochronological age yielded an A/I mean of 0.445 ± 0.058 (n = 17). Similarly, extensive Holocene dunes on Moloka'i and Kaua'i were correlated by a mean A/I ratio of 0.266 ± 0.022 (n = 8) and equated with a 14C bulk sediment mean age of 8600 yr B.P. Our results indicate that the eolian dunes currently exposed in various localities in the Islands originated primarily during two major periods of dune formation, the last interglacial (MIS 5e) and the early Holocene (MIS 1). MIS 5e and MIS 1 A/I ratios from the Hawaiian Islands show close agreement with previous whole-rock studies in Bermuda and the Bahamas. We discuss these results in terms of their relevance to models of lithospheric flexure and to imposing constraints on the time frame for the extinction of fossil birds.
Hearty PJ, Kaufman DS, Olson SL, James HF. 2000. Stratigraphy and whole-rock amino acid geochronology of key holocene and last interglacial carbonate deposits in the Hawaiian Islands. Pac Sci 54(4): 423-442.
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