Journal cover Journal topic
Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/cp-2017-11
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
13 Feb 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Climate of the Past (CP).
Post-glacial flooding of the Beringia Land Bridge dated to 11,000 cal yrs BP based on new geophysical and sediment records
Martin Jakobsson1, Christof Pearce1,2, Thomas M. Cronin3, Jan Backman1, Leif G. Anderson4, Natalia Barrientos1, Göran Björk4, Helen Coxall1, Agatha de Boer1, Larry A. Mayer5, Carl-Magnus Mörth1, Johan Nilsson6, Jayne E. Rattray1, Christian Stranne1,5, Igor Semilietov7,8, and Matt O'Regan1 1Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 106 91, Sweden
2Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, 8000, Denmark
3US Geological Survey MS926A, Reston, Virginia, 20192, USA
4Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
5Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire 03824, USA
6Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 106 91, Sweden
7Pacific Oceanological Institute, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 690041 Vladivostok, Russia
8Tomsk National Research Polytechnic University, Tomsk, Russia
Abstract. The Bering Strait connects the Arctic and Pacific oceans and separates the North American and Asian land masses. The presently shallow (~ 53 m) strait was exposed during the sea-level lowstand of the last glacial period, which permitted human migration across a land bridge referred to as Beringia. Proxy studies (stabile isotope composition of foraminifera, whale migration into the Arctic Ocean, mollusc and insect fossils and paleobotanical data) have suggested a range of ages for the Bering Strait reopening, mainly falling within the Younger Dryas stadial (12.9–11.7 ka). Here we provide new information on the deglacial and post-glacial evolution of the Arctic-Pacific connection through the Bering Strait based on analyses of geological and geophysical data from Herald Canyon, located north of the Bering Strait on the Chukchi Sea shelf region in the western Arctic Ocean. Our results suggest an initial opening at about 11 ka in the earliest Holocene, which is later when compared to several previous studies. Our key evidence is based on a well dated core from Herald Canyon, in which a shift from a near-shore environment to a Pacific-influenced open marine setting around 11 ka is observed. The shift corresponds to Meltwater Pulse 1b (MWP1b) and is interpreted to signify relatively rapid breaching of the Bering Strait and submergence of the large Beringia Land Bridge. Although precise rates of sea-level rise cannot be quantified, our new results suggest that the late deglacial sea-level rise was rapid, and occurred after the end of the Younger Dryas stadial.

Citation: Jakobsson, M., Pearce, C., Cronin, T. M., Backman, J., Anderson, L. G., Barrientos, N., Björk, G., Coxall, H., de Boer, A., Mayer, L. A., Mörth, C.-M., Nilsson, J., Rattray, J. E., Stranne, C., Semilietov, I., and O'Regan, M.: Post-glacial flooding of the Beringia Land Bridge dated to 11,000 cal yrs BP based on new geophysical and sediment records, Clim. Past Discuss., doi:10.5194/cp-2017-11, in review, 2017.
Martin Jakobsson et al.
Martin Jakobsson et al.
Martin Jakobsson et al.

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Short summary
The Arctic and Pacific oceans are connected by the presently ~ 53 m shallow Bering Strait. During the last glacial period, when sea-level was lower than today, the Bering Strait was exposed. Humans and animals could then migrate between Asia and North America across the formed land bridge. From analyses of sediment cores and geophysical mapping data from Herald Canyon, north of the Bering Strait, we show that the land bridge was flooded at about 11,000 years ago.
The Arctic and Pacific oceans are connected by the presently ~ 53 m shallow Bering Strait....
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