ABSTRACT: Previous sea-level studies suggest that southwest Britain has the fastest subsiding coastline in the United Kingdom, but tide-gauge data, GPS and gravity measurements and geophysical models show little evidence of anomalous subsidence in this region. In this paper we present 15 new sea-level index points from four coastal barrier systems in south Devon. Eight are from compaction-free basal sediments and others were corrected for autocompaction. Our data suggest that relative sea level along the south Devon coastline has risen by 214mduring the past 9000 years. Sea-level rise slowed during the middle and late Holocene and a rise of 81m has occurred since ca. 7000 cal. yr BP. Anomalous ages for many rejected points are attributed to sediment reworking during barrier transgression. The relative sea-level history during the early and middle Holocene shows a good fit with geophysical model predictions, but the geological and modelled data diverge in the later Holocene. Unlike the geophysical models, sea-level index points cannot differentiate between late Holocene relative sea-level histories of south Devon and southwest Cornwall. It is suggested that this discrepancy can be resolved by obtaining additional high-quality sea-level index points covering the past 4000 years. Copyright # 2008 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
- sea-level change