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Diagenetic rejuvenation of raised coral reefs and precision of dating. The contribution of the Red Sea reefs to the question of reliability of the Uranium-series datings of middle to late Pleistocene key reef-terraces of the world

Keywords: Th/U α dating , coral reef , Pleistocene , Red Sea , diagenesis , glaciation , sea-level change , rejuvenation hypothesis , Australia , Bahamas , Barbados , Bermudes , Djibouti , Egypt , Eritrea , Ethiopia , Jordan , Papua New Guinea , Sudan

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This paper is a general review of the dating of reefs on the coasts of the Red Sea, including those of Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti. New methods of sampling and dating (U/Th) already tested on the reefs and associate deposits of the African coast of Egypt have demonstrated that processes of rejuvenation shown to exist in the best-preserved corals are probably attributable to the diagenesis of the organic material in their bio-minerals, thus justifying a revision of a great many datings of corals supposedly younger or older than the age assigned to the high-level isotopic substage (δ18O) MIS 5.5 (= 5e). During this late Pleistocene substage, a rapid lowering of sea level, short and limited to about ten meters, was detected and associated with a glacio-eustatic episode of global influence. A comparison of these Middle East reef chronologies with those of New Guinea, Australia and the western Atlantic that are referred only with difficulty to the δ18O global sea-level curves, casts doubt on the reliability of many regional reconstructions. Moreover the most "classic" reef chronologies, more or less out-of-phase with global isotopic records calls for a reexamination of the chronologic basis of the reference curves derived from marine isotopic data.


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