A sequence of at least three Late and Middle Pleistocene coral reef terraces (Lower Terrace, Middle Terrace I and II), which are uplifted up to 45 m a.s.l., is conserved on Curaçao. The less uplifted Lower terrace (elevation 6 to 12 m above sea level) consists of two different coral reef formations: the Hato unit and the underlying Cortalein unit. The discontinuity between these two superimposed units is typically marked by a strong difference in the degree of weathering. Samples of coral in growth position were collected from the Lower Terrace (Hato and Cortalein unit) and the Middle Terrace I. ESR ages indicate a Last Interglacial age of the Hato unit of about 122 ky BP, and a correlation with the Last Interglacial sea level maximum (stage 5e). The ESR age of the underlying Cortalein unit is about 216 ky BP (stage 7). Palaeo sea level calculations imply a correlation with the youngest of three Penultimate coral reef terraces located on the island of Barbados, which was uplifted more strongly than the island of Curaçao. No equivalents of older Penultimate Interglacial coral reefs and of the Interglacial stage 9 were found. Middle Terrace I could be at least as old as stage 11 (approx. 400 ky BP), however, it could also be more than 500 ky old.
palaeo sea level
Pleistocene coral reef terraces