The Cretaceous Geology of Alabama and Modern Sea Level Rise…

Guest “How not to connect the present with the past” by David Middleton

Alabama’s Return to the Sea
A paleontological site shows how life endured in an Alabama that was almost fully submerged—and how it could again as the ocean rises.
by Jack Tamisiea
September 8, 2021

Alabama’s Harrell Station, roughly 75 kilometers west of Montgomery and 250 kilometers inland from the Gulf of Mexico, seems like the last place someone would go to explore the ocean. But crumbling out of the dusty ground, which has been wrinkled into gullies of white chalk, are the remnants of an ancient sea. During the Late Cretaceous some 82 million years ago, high temperatures melted the polar ice caps submerging the world’s coasts. A shallow sea known as the Mississippi Embayment spilled out over the southeastern United States, blanketing much of Alabama. Harrell Station is one of the best places to glimpse this primeval sea.

Located on a belt of Cretaceous-aged rocks known as the Mooreville Chalk, the gullies at Harrell Station are brimming with the immaculately preserved fossilized remains of the reptiles that dominated this ancient sea. Compacted over time, and carved by eons of erosion, the powdery marl is composed of the crushed skeletons of microscopic algae known as coccolithophores combined with clay. As these plankton sank toward the ocean floor, they entombed larger sea creatures in stunning detail.

Since the 1940s, researchers have worked to exhume this fossilized bounty. To this day, they continue to uncover new species. Adiel Klompmaker, the curator of paleontology at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, which has owned and excavated a large swath of Harrell Station since 1991, likens the site to a Cretaceous time capsule. “We know so much about the late part of the Cretaceous because of Harrell Station,” he says.

[…]

This connection between warming water and sea level rise troubles Klompmaker. “Harrell Station gives a warning,” he says. “It reminds us that sea levels can inundate vast amounts of the state of Alabama.”

This process is already playing out. A combination of sinking land and a warming Gulf means that Alabama is one of the states most at risk from sea level rise. The ocean has risen nearly 30 centimeters over the past 50 years, eating away at the state’s barrier islands and coastlines. Some people may like having beachfront property in northern Alabama, Klompmaker says jokingly, “but I think many people would disagree.”

[…]

Hakai Magazine

Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective. The magazine is funded by the Tula Foundation, which also funds the Hakai Institute, but remains editorially independent.

Hakai Magazine

This reminds me of In Search of Noah’s Ark (1976). I recall a paleontologist stating that marine fossils have been found on mountaintops all over the world; proving that a great flood once covered the entire surface of the Earth. This is exactly not how to connect the present with the past. It’s exactly not geology. It’s exactly not how the principle of Uniformitarianism is employed. Yet it’s almost exactly what this aspiring young science writer has done.

During the Late Cretaceous some 82 million years ago, high temperatures melted the polar ice caps submerging the world’s coasts.

Jack Tamisiea, 2020 BS Environmental Studies, minored in Narrative Structure, working on Science Writing MS

The “science writer” assumes that since melting polar ice caps have been the primary cause of rising sea levels since the end of the last Pleistocene glacial stage, this must have been how most of present day Alabama was underwater during the Cretaceous Period.

Cretaceous sea level had nothing to do with melting polar ice caps. While, it’s possible that there were some ephemeral ice sheets and glaciers during the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, there were no significant polar ice caps during the Mesozoic Era.

The paleogeography of the Cretaceous Period was totally different than modern day physical geography. This is why sea level was higher, why it was so much warmer and probably why CO2 levels were so much higher than today. Shallow seas covered much of the continental landmass. Oddly, even though Cretaceous sea level was much higher than today, the modern day oceans are much deeper than they were in the Cretaceous. The oceans are currently deeper than any time in the past 250 million years.

The second phase in the breakup of Pangea began in the early Cretaceous, about 140 million years ago. Gondwana continued to fragment as South America separated from Africa opening the South Atlantic, and India together with Madagascar rifted away from Antarctica and the western margin of Australia opeing the Eastern Indian Ocean. The South Atlantic did not open all at once, but rather progressively “unzipped” from south to north. That is why the South Atlantic is wider to the south.

Other important plate tectonic events occurred during the Cretaceous Period. These include: the initiation of rifting between North America and Europe, the counter-clockwise rotation of Iberia from France, The separation of India from Madagascar, the derivation of Cuba and Hispaniola from the Pacific, the uplift of the Rocky mountains, and the arrival of exotic terranes (Wrangellia, Stikinia) along the western margin of North America.

Globally, the climate during the Cretaceous Period, like the Jurassic and Triassic, was much warmer than today. Dinosaurs and palm trees were present north of the Arctic Circle and in Antarctica and southern Australia. Though there may have been some at the poles during the Early Cretaceous, there were no large ice caps at anytime during the Mesozoic Era.

These mild climatic conditions were in part due to the fact shallow seaways covered the continents during the Cretaceous. Warm water from the equatorial regions was also transported northward, warming the polar regions. These seaways also tended to make local climates milder, much like the modern Mediterranean Sea, which has an ameliorating effect on the climate of Europe.

Shallow seaways covered the continents because sea level was 100 – 200 meters higher than today. Higher sea level was due, in part, to the creation of new rifts in the ocean basins that, as discussed previously in this article, displaced water onto the continents. The Cretaceous was also a time of rapid sea-floor spreading. Because of their broad profile, rapidly spreading mid-ocean ridges displace more water than do slow spreading mid-ocean ridges. Consequently, during times of rapid sea-floor spreading, sea level will tend to rise.

Scotese, C.R., 2002, http://www.scotese.com, (PALEOMAP website). Cretaceous.

Most of Alabama and much of the modern Gulf Coast region were in the Gulf of Mexico during the Cretaceous Period.

Figure 1. North America during the Cretaceous Period. University of Alabama

Dr. William Galloway, of the University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences, summarized the depositional history of the Gulf Coast/Gulf or Mexico in this must read paper (I must read it, because he sent me a copy of it)…

Depositional history can be generalized in seven phases: (1) Middle-Late Jurassic evaporite and carbonate deposition in a broad, shallow, restricted to open marine basin. (2) Latest Jurassic-Early Cretaceous sand-rich clastic progradation from the northern margins. (3) Late-Early Cretaceous development of a rimmed carbonate shelf. (4) Late Cretaceous mixed clastic and carbonate aggradation of the continental margins. (5) Resurgent Paleogene clastic progradation and filling centered in the NW basin. (6) Miocene progradation and basin filling centered in the central and NE Gulf. (7) Late Neogene climatically and eustatically influenced progradation along the central Gulf margin. In contrast to the broad, progradational sediment wedge of the northern Gulf, the Florida margin is a primarily aggradational carbonate platform.


Galloway, 2008.
Figure 2. Left to right: Generalized cross section along northern GOM region (Galloway et al., 2009), depositional phases are numbered. Relative sea level (Miller et al., 2005), atmospheric CO2 (Berner & Kothavala, 2001) and temperature anomalies (Royer et al., 2004). Click for image.

Figure 2 clearly demonstrates the importance of sea level cycles in the depositional history of the GOM. Also note that all of the source rock formations were deposited when atmospheric CO2 was above 1,000 ppm and the Earth was considerably warmer than it is today. The temperature and CO2 plots have 10 million year resolutions; they are highly smoothed.

A combination of sinking land and a warming Gulf means that Alabama is one of the states most at risk from sea level rise. The ocean has risen nearly 30 centimeters over the past 50 years, eating away at the state’s barrier islands and coastlines.

Some people may like having beachfront property in northern Alabama, Klompmaker says jokingly, “but I think many people would disagree.”

Jack Tamisiea, 2020 BS Environmental Studies, minored in Narrative Structure, working on Science Writing MS

The closest NOAA tide gauge station with a relatively long, continuous record length is Pensacola FL. Sea level has risen by about 20 cm over the past 50 years. The rate of sea level rise is a bit higher in and around Mobile Bay; however those stations, Dauphin Island and Mobile State Docks are discontinuous and only go back to 1966 and 1980, respectively.

Figure 3. Sea Level Trend at Pensacola FL. NOAA.

Dallas County AL, where Harrell Station is located, is about 580′ above sea level. Sea level at Pensacola is rising at a rate of about 0.83 feet per 100 years. At this rate, it will be about 70,000 years before people have a chance to acquire “beachfront property in northern Alabama.”

Alabama’s Cretaceous marine geology and modern coastal processes are not analogous in any manner.

References

Berner, R.A. and Z. Kothavala, 2001. GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, v.301, pp.182-204, February 2001.

Galloway, William. (2008). “Chapter 15 Depositional Evolution of the Gulf of Mexico Sedimentary Basin”. Volume 5: Ed. Andrew D. Miall, The Sedimentary Basins of the United States and Canada., ISBN: 978-0-444-50425-8, Elsevier B.V., pp. 505-549. (Special thanks to Dr. Gallloway for sending me a copy of this)

Galloway, William E., et al. “Gulf of Mexico.” GEO ExPro, 2009, www.geoexpro.com/articles/2009/03/gulf-of-mexico.

Miller, Kenneth & Kominz, Michelle & V Browning, James & Wright, James & Mountain, Gregory & E Katz, Miriam & J Sugarman, Peter & Cramer, Benjamin & Christie-Blick, Nicholas & Pekar, S. (2005). “The Phanerozoic Record of Global Sea-Level Change”. Science (New York, N.Y.). 310. 1293-8. 10.1126/science.1116412.

Royer, D. L., R. A. Berner, I. P. Montanez, N. J. Tabor and D. J. Beerling. CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate.  GSA Today, Vol. 14, No. 3. (2004), pp. 4-10

Scotese, C. R., 2001. Atlas of Earth History, Volume 1, Paleogeography, PALEOMAP Project, Arlington, Texas, 52 pp.

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John Tillman
September 9, 2021 2:14 pm

North America, Europe and Africa started rifting apart at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, creating the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP). True, via Greenland, North America and Europe remained connected throughout the Jurassic and tenuously even into the Early Cretaceous, hence Iguanodon on both continents.

The CAMP initiated the breakup of Pangaea. The associated mass extinction cleared the decks for dinosaur dominance of the land.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Tillman
John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
September 10, 2021 12:23 pm

Mosasaurs of Alabama:

http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2271

Mosasaurs are an example of rapid evolution of a new family of reptiles, within the squamata, today represented by lizards and snakes. After the demise of ichthyosaurs in the Late Cretaceous extinction (c. 90 Ma), land lizards quickly evolved to exploit vacant marine niches. This probably occurred in the inland North American seaway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dallasaurus

Last edited 2 months ago by John Tillman
Editor
September 9, 2021 2:20 pm

David writes, “Dallas County AL, where Harrell Station is located, is about 580′ above sea level. Sea level at Pensacola is rising at a rate of about 0.83 feet per 100 years. At this rate, it will be about 70,000 years before people have a chance to acquire ‘beachfront property in northern Alabama.'”

Sounds like an great opportunity for a long-term investment.

Regards,
Bob

PS: Thanks, David. I enjoyed the post.

John Tillman
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
September 9, 2021 2:27 pm

Except that sea level rise won’t continue at that rate. Long before 70,000 years from now, the next glaciation will occur. Unless giant fusion-powered hair dryers melt the snow and ice fields on Canada, Europe and Asia before they can accumulate into continental ice sheets.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
September 9, 2021 3:28 pm

Design one and retire rich!

Not that I missed the sarcorama.

Or, given your string of guest demolition derbies, sarcothon.

Last edited 2 months ago by John Tillman
PCman999
Reply to  David Middleton
September 9, 2021 3:48 pm

Still, I liked the bit about fusion powered hair-dryers – great way to free up all that water tied up in useless ice and free it up for the biosphere to use.

H.R.
Reply to  PCman999
September 9, 2021 4:23 pm

PCman999: Still, I liked the bit about fusion powered hair-dryers […]”

Yeah, everyone has nice, poofy hair.
😜

(And no hitting me with, “But what about the bald guys?”)

Mike Sexton
Reply to  H.R.
September 9, 2021 7:02 pm

Us bald guys don’t give a rats batoottie

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mike Sexton
September 9, 2021 9:29 pm

While everyone else goes broke buying hair products, us baldies will be RICH! RICH I SAY!! HAHAHAHAHA!

sorry.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  H.R.
September 9, 2021 9:28 pm

We’ll have nice, poofy beards.

Ellen
Reply to  H.R.
September 11, 2021 11:24 am

In this vale
Of toil and sin.
Your head grows bald
But not
Your chin.
Burma-Shave

Speaking from direct observation, there are quite a few poofy beards out there.

old engineer
September 9, 2021 2:50 pm

My wife has relatives that live in Gulf Shores, Alabama. One of the tourist shops by the beach has picture of the beach at Gulf Shores taken in 1946, looking West from the shop’s location. There is nothing but white sand beach for miles. When you look down the same beach (sand not noticeably in a different location) today, there are high-rise condos as far as you can see. Apparently there are a lot of people that are not worried about Alabama being engulfed by the Gulf of Mexico.

Reply to  old engineer
September 9, 2021 3:08 pm

Ahhhh.
High-rise condos; do they come with an integral canoe dock, up to the eighth storey?
Asking for a friend, naturally!

Auto

John Tillman
Reply to  old engineer
September 9, 2021 3:29 pm

Nor worried about building upon the sand.

Duane
Reply to  John Tillman
September 10, 2021 1:17 pm

All high rise buildings in any coastal areas (actually, in most areas) have deep foundations keyed into the underlying bedrock. They don’t float in or on the sand. Either piles or caissons. If the former and the rock is soft enough, the piles are driven. Otherwise they’re bored or drilled I

John Tillman
Reply to  Duane
September 10, 2021 1:41 pm

Not all. Maybe most recent construction, but not older. See Katrina.

In coastal Oregon, high rises were built on dunes even late in the last century.

Reply to  old engineer
September 9, 2021 10:41 pm

A very nice sugar sand beach.

One can get the bottom of their chin sunburned there as the sand reflects/refracts so much light upwards.
Beautiful lovely turquoise colored bath warm water.

Went swimming in the Gulf one December. Locals thought I was nuts. The water temperature was 70°F.

commieBob
September 9, 2021 2:59 pm

I never cease to be appalled at the lack of breadth of folks’ education.

Supposedly educated people routinely say stupid stuff that they wouldn’t say if they had a smattering of education in specialties closely related to their own.

What passes for education is just repetitive practice in making up BS from whole cloth. Yes, they are being taught how to communicate. No, they are not actually being taught to think.

Defund the universities.

Reply to  commieBob
September 9, 2021 7:47 pm

Third rate brains get taught what to think. First rate brains learn how to think…

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 10, 2021 6:39 am

The right brain-washing techniques work pretty well on both (at least ’till they reach around 30 or so) :<)

commieBob
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 10, 2021 5:14 pm

The trap that way too many educators fall into is thinking they are teaching thinking skills. That leads to content-free ‘education’. It just produces folks who are really good at b.s.

An example is MBA programs which rely way too much on case studies. Students spend their time analysing situations where they do not have even clue one about the industry and company they are writing about. Henry Mintzberg did a study of Harvard MBA graduates and discovered that the vast majority of the highest achievers were dismal failures in the business world.

Domain specific knowledge trumps thinking skills … almost always. Know-nothing left wingers are really good at thinking skills.

Pathway
September 9, 2021 3:10 pm

This is the drivel you get when you are degreed in environmental studies rather than a real science degree, say in geology.

Reply to  Pathway
September 9, 2021 4:23 pm

I Sincerely believe that the only “Science” in Environmental Science is Political Science.

Allencic
Reply to  Pathway
September 9, 2021 4:28 pm

I couldn’t agree more. I was a Geology professor in a Dept of Geography and Geology. I couple of faculty colleagues had degrees in Environmental Science and basically had those degrees because the couldn’t cut the genuine math and science course needed in Geology. They were the ones pushing global warming/climate change. What they believed to be true was astoundingly stupid and wrong. What was it Biden said? “We believe in truth not facts.” A perfect description of the morons in Enviro Science.

Dolores Testerman
September 9, 2021 3:14 pm

Look at this article on salt production by ancient people at the coast of Israel …
“they fit the present-day sea level, it seems that land-sea conditions have been stable in the last two millennia, with no major changes.”
https://www.asor.org/anetoday/2021/09/ancient-salt-industry

September 9, 2021 3:19 pm

66 million years ago the Chicxulub Impactor hit and sent a huge mass of water up the interior of Texas, no? I remember someone calculated the sea level if all land was smoothed and if I remember….there was no land left…all a shallow sea.

H.R.
Reply to  Anti_griff
September 9, 2021 4:38 pm

Ummmm, I’m in the upper Eastern Midwest, and we have Devonian limestone anywhere from surface outcrops to 20 – 60 feet under a clay/shale/soil topper. The last glaciation managed to scrape most of my State fairly flat and down to the Devonian limestone.

Just using what I learned in 4th grade, our neck of the woods was a shallow sea at one time. It will be again, once the Continents rearrange themselves in some other configuration. Meanwhile every bit of ice on the planet could melt and I wouldn’t have to roll up my trousers an inch.

All that said, I expect my neck of the woods to become a shallow sea once again at some point far into the future and the Himalayas will become molehills once again.

You have to think long-term, big picture and not get your panties in a wad over a few centimeters of sea level rise.

Chris Hanley
September 9, 2021 3:41 pm

Young Jack can be forgiven for his apparent ignorance of geology as he has a degree in Environmental Studies and Narrative Studies from the University of Southern California and now ‘pursuing a Masters from Johns Hopkins University’, but it’s a Masters degree in ‘science writing’ according to his LinkedIn page.
No doubt his science writing is motivated by a desire ‘to make the world a better place’.

old engineer
Reply to  Chris Hanley
September 9, 2021 4:26 pm

Chris-

Thanks for background information. But- Narrative Studies? A new one to me. But a quick trip to the USC website found that, yes, you can get a BA Narrative studies. The program is described thusly:

“Narrative Studies prepares students for the development and evaluation of original content for novels, films, theatre and other narrative platforms, but recognizes that the range of professional opportunities in literature and the performing arts is much wider than the roles of author, screenwriter or playwright. To recognize a good story, to critique, help shape, realize and transform it, requires a background in the history of narrative, crosscultural and contemporary models, and an understanding of the broader context of popular culture.”

WTF? Is this what used to be called Creative Writing?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  old engineer
September 9, 2021 6:58 pm

Probably a “BS” in Narrative Studies would be more appropriate.

MarkW
Reply to  old engineer
September 9, 2021 7:31 pm

It’s not even creative writing. It’s sounds like he is getting a degree in how to tell the creative writers, what to write.

H.R.
Reply to  Chris Hanley
September 9, 2021 4:44 pm

Young Jack can make the World a better place by picking up his own litter after protesting… something.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  H.R.
September 10, 2021 3:43 am

Don’t be so silly, such actions are beneath someone who has a university degree!!! Other less educated peeps should do the picking up after them, fact!!!

Duane
Reply to  Chris Hanley
September 10, 2021 5:28 pm

There is wide variation in what constitutes a professional degree in environmental science. I enrolled in a masters program at my university as a degreed civil engineer in the mid-1980s, and took several graduate courses in engineering, plus courses in environmental law, environmental economics, and environmental science, and did original research for a thesis involving a large committee of PhD professionals in environmental science, geochemistry, and other hard sciences. My major professor was the project manager appointed by US DOE for the cleanup of the Three Mile Island reactor plant. My research was paid for by a grant from my employer, a major DOE engineering lab involved in nuclear engineering.

Lots of hard science and engineering.

But other environmental science programs today are little better than poli-sci curricula.

They’re not all created equal.

Ron Long
September 9, 2021 4:23 pm

David, good review of Cretaceous high sea levels, especially as regards paleogeography and continental drift. I personally worked in the Cretaceous Mancos Shale, a part of the Western Seaway, in both New Mexico and Montana. The Mancos Shale had a limestone marker bed near the bottom, the Greenhorn Limestone, and it made a great skarn mineralized host rock. I drilled about a half-million ounces of gold resource at the Lukas Canyon part of the Ortiz Mine Grant in New Mexico, then worked on the same limestone marker bed just on the south side of Helena, Montana. The stratigraphic sequence was very similar, which is amazing considering the distance and setting. Good of you to introduce the geologic complexities controlling sea level to others, there is no way any unusual event is underway as regards sea level, and the complexity of factors affecting sea level are large. Press ON!

RickWill
September 9, 2021 4:28 pm

Atmospheric oxygen level during the Cretaceous period has been determined to reach 30%. Assuming nitrogen mass was constant, the surface pressure would reach 1100mb. That increases annual tropical ocean temperature limit to 33C rather than the present 30C.

The observed warming of the Cretaceous is related to atmospheric pressure and the distribution of water rather than CO2. The same factors that give the current surface energy balance.

Wim Röst
Reply to  RickWill
September 10, 2021 5:04 am

Rick Will: “That increases annual tropical ocean temperature limit to 33C rather than the present 30C.”

WR: Only if assuming that evaporative surface cooling and the quantity of tropical clouds would remain the same at that higher temperature. But because evaporation goes up at 33˚C as does the quantity of tropical clouds shading the surface, tropical oceans would not rise in temperature.

RickWill
Reply to  Wim Röst
September 11, 2021 1:04 am

Convective instability is a function of both surface temperature and surface pressure. As surface pressure goes up, it takes more atmospheric water to achieve the same cloud persistency. That means the surface temperature has to increase to get the same reduction in surface insolation.

Table 2A in the linked paper provides the data:
http://www.bomwatch.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Bomwatch-Willoughby-Main-article-FINAL.pdf

Wim Röst
Reply to  RickWill
September 11, 2021 5:22 am

Rick Will: “Convective instability is a function of both surface temperature and surface pressure.”

WR: Convection in the atmosphere is the result of differences in density between air columns.

RickWill
Reply to  Wim Röst
September 11, 2021 4:39 pm

Read the paper and you will get an appreciation of how the atmospheric heat engine works.

Convective instability, meaning cloudburst, is a consequence of dehumidified air above the level of free convection having a higher density than moist air. Moist air burst into the dehumidified zone once instability occurs.

The concept of convective potential energy is well known but I believe I am the first to demonstrate the cloud persistency as a consequence. It is the cloud persistency that limits the surface temperature and that temperature is a function of surface pressure – read the paper.

September 9, 2021 5:03 pm

It amazes me how many “Environmental Sciences” exspurts [sic on purpose], have a complete lack of knowledge, void, of any understanding of geology. How can they make any predictions without knowing the past. Worse, the past is basically written out for them in the land and below the surface. If I as a Nuclear Engineer can see this why can’t they. My only conclusion is they do not can not see that which does not fit their narrative.

Which reminds me. I made the mistake of looking at a graduate course book in Thermodynamics I took 50 years ago, and have been bugged by what I learned about Chemical thermodynamics, which is typically used to predict the energy exchanges that occur in the following processes: Chemical reactions, Phase changes and The formation of solutions, all of which follow the laws of thermodynamics with the primary concern in chemical thermodynamics in Internal energy (U), Enthalpy (H), Entropy (S) and Gibbs free energy (G). I still remember, vaguely, the problem we had on battery charging and discharge and how the energy could be calculated with the laws and equations of Thermodynamics. It seems to me that there are large scale reactions of this nature going on in the atmosphere and in the ocean that can only be understood and quantitively measured by Chemical Thermodynamics that factor into, dare I say, Global Warming! And I am sure none of these “Environmental Sciences” exspurts took even a basic thermodynamics course.

Last edited 2 months ago by usurbrain
DMacKenzie
Reply to  Rich Lentz
September 9, 2021 5:43 pm

Yes, thermo is very useful in atmospheric science. Meteorologists’ Skew T diagrams and Tephigrams are basically entropy plots. And I know someone who took “Environmental Science” because it was light on math….

Smart Rock
September 9, 2021 6:55 pm

This connection between warming water and sea level rise troubles Klompmaker. “Harrell Station gives a warning,” he says. “It reminds us that sea levels can inundate vast amounts of the state of Alabama.”

Adiel Klompmaker is not a science writer with skin-deep understanding of the subject; he is a paleontologist with a Ph.D. and should know better than make silly statements like that.

Although I suspect that his words might have been “edited” by the “science writer”

DHR
Reply to  Smart Rock
September 10, 2021 5:28 am

Perhaps Dr. Klompmaker is also unaware that coastal Alabama is sinking at a rate of between 2 and 3 mm/yr, about the same as observed relative sea level rise.

Johne Morton
September 9, 2021 8:55 pm

Tides around the world’s coastlines can vary by a foot to over 50 feet. Storm surges can be 30 feet and higher, and inland flooding can swamp whole towns and floodplains. Seasonal weather changes dramatically, especially in midlatitude and polar continental regions. Your life expectancy won’t change much if you go from Yukon to Yuma…but “climate change” is an “existential threat”. The English language is the thing facing an existential threat, I think…

John F Hultquist
September 9, 2021 8:57 pm

Thanks David.

Of course many people’s education misses this sort of information, so they are surprised when it appears to them for the first time.
I was with a group of volunteer trail workers years ago on the Pacific Crest Trail,
at 5,500 feet ( 47.495372, -121.242984 ). There is a section of one of Washington States many accreted terrains that we leveled the tread across a marine layer. The WA terrains are different stories than what you have told here.

Ruleo
September 9, 2021 9:25 pm

During the Late Cretaceous some 82 million years ago, high temperatures melted the polar ice caps submerging the world’s coasts.

There were polar ice caps in the Cretaceous?

Ruleo
Reply to  Ruleo
September 9, 2021 9:42 pm

I should have read further, this was addressed in the article.

Clyde Spencer
September 9, 2021 9:26 pm

I think that Tamisiea doesn’t have a good grasp of the role of orogenies in removing huge volumes of crustal material from the ocean basins, and thus lowering sea level. Most notably, the Laramide Orogeny, which created the Rocky Mountains, lifted the Western Interior Seaway. Subsequent to that, the Tibetan Plateau was created, stacking marine sedimentary rocks to high elevations, removing them from the oceans. Also, after such events as the Paleozoic (and older) orogenies, the erosion of the old mountain chains activated isostatic uplift. The Sierra Nevada of California was intruded by granodiorite during Cretaceous time, elevated by dacite/latite volcanism during Oligocene time, reactivated by tilting during Miocene time, and are still growing today, probably again from isostatic uplift.

The volume of ocean basins and the consequent relative sea level is more complex than melting ice. Although, the formation of the Antarctic ice sheets 35 to 45 million years ago certainly helped lower sea level with respect to Alabama.

Mandobob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 10, 2021 10:07 am

The Laramide uplifts were, in part, coeval with the ICSW and the Late Cretaceous sediments reflect the rising of the uplifts and the transition to terrestrial dominated sediments as the seaway retreated. The sedimentary regime change reflects the regional elevation rise.

September 9, 2021 10:37 pm

A paleontological site shows how life endured in an Alabama that was almost fully submerged—and how it could again as the ocean rises.

by Jack Tamisiea

September 8, 2021″

Well, that is purely delusional.
30 cm is 11.8 inches. Tamisiea claims the sea has risen one foot over the last fifty years?
Riiigght…

Let’s see, the ocean rose some 330 feet because all of the Northern and Southern hemisphere mile high glaciers melted, except at the poles themselves.

Dothan, AL is 322 feet above sea level.
Tuscaloosa, AL is 243 feet above sea level.
Montgomery, AL is also 243 feet above sea level.

To have any chance at flooding those parts of Alabama, it would require melting the equivalent amount of ice that the earliest Holocene melted…

Where is that much ice?
The Arctic is all sea ice, so that will not contribute anything towards sea level rise.

Just how long does Tamisiea expect this melting to take?

Tamisiea appears to be another delusional journalist hyping alarmist fantasies, far from any rational standpoint.
Loony is apt as is Hakai magazine where they let Earth science ignorant people pretend to be journalists.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  ATheoK
September 9, 2021 11:04 pm

The Arctic is all sea ice”

No.

Meab
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
September 10, 2021 9:10 am

Of all the land grounded ice almost 90% is on Antarctica, and almost 10% on Greenland. All other land grounded ice adds up to a relatively minor fraction. ATtheok is, for all intents and purposes, correct.

John Larson
September 10, 2021 1:43 am

Located on a belt of Cretaceous-aged rocks known as the Mooreville Chalk, the gullies at Harrell Station are brimming with the immaculately preserved fossilized remains of the reptiles that dominated this ancient sea. Compacted over time, and carved by eons of erosion, the powdery marl is composed of the crushed skeletons of microscopic algae known as coccolithophores combined with clay. As these plankton sank toward the ocean floor, they entombed larger sea creatures in stunning detail.”

Sure it did, the plankton sank toward the ocean floor, entombing larger sea creatures . . the bodies of which remained ready to become immaculately preserved fossilized remains of the reptiles that dominated this ancient sea. In an even-toed ungulate of the family Suidae’s rear end they did ; )

September 10, 2021 3:32 am

Nice informative article as always, thanks Dave!

Carbalarmists are very like 6-day creationists in their thought processes and how they weave their narrative.

Both groups sense – rightly – that the detailed and coherent record of real geology is a fatal threat to their respective storylines. So they must side-line geology somehow.

In current climate alarmist papers this normally takes the form of simply ignoring geology – ignoring the centuries of meticulous work of geologists – and substituting the entire profession by a few infantile glib statements coming from the top of their heads. Something like – “that must be from the poles melting. That’s what CO2 does, innit?”

More and more, alarmist scientists are ignoring continental drift and tectonics with a loud silence. Quite soon, alarmist scientists like Mike Mann are going to start openly questioning whether tectonic movement is real and whether ice ages happened at all. Anything other than CO2 that changes climate must be purged and made to disappear.

bonbon
September 10, 2021 5:00 am

These continental slabs did not migrate, they were purchased!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposals_for_the_United_States_to_purchase_Greenland#1867
Trump tried again to alter the continent.
(sarc font notwithstanding!).

observa
September 10, 2021 6:15 am

Do you think the doomsters will ever get it when it smacks them in the face all the time?
New Imaging Reveals Hidden Ice Age Landscapes Buried Deep in The North Sea (msn.com)

whiten
Reply to  observa
September 10, 2021 10:54 am

Ice Age, the last glacial period.

According to the study data in the link you provide,
the age signature for the Ice Age no more than 21K years.

And that at most stretching possible there.

cheers

whiten
Reply to  whiten
September 10, 2021 12:59 pm

There happens to be a saying;

Those who go against natural order do not fare
well.

But still those who go against Newton, or his physic, do not fare at all… ever….
..
period….

Last edited 2 months ago by whiten
whiten
Reply to  whiten
September 10, 2021 1:17 pm

In the end of the day!

Last edited 2 months ago by whiten
Dusty
September 10, 2021 6:40 am

Ever heard of “90% planning, 10% perspiration”? Well, Alabama’s Return To The Sea was “90% narrative structure, 10% science”.

Tom Abbott
September 10, 2021 7:32 am

If all the ice melted, it looks like I would be high and dry at my location in Eastern Oklahoma, although the ocean would probably be visible from my location.

Olen
September 10, 2021 8:46 am

I was looking for photos of those extinct creatures. As a boy I found them in rocks near a creek along with Indian arrow heads not having a clue how old they were.

Alfred Wegener, astronomy, meteorology and physics proposed plate tectonics that land masses are in constant motion. His theory was dismissed because he was not a geologist only to be proven right 50 years later.

The rebuttal was brutal but interesting. When I was a kid there were no multiple choice questions making it easier to pass the test and easier to grade. The slide in education begins with convenience and equality.

Abolition Man
September 10, 2021 10:46 am

David,
Thanks for another interesting lesson in geology and paleogeography!
I fear that the article’s author has encountered so little REAL science in his studies, that one would have to nail the science to the end of a 2X4 and smack him in the head to get his attention! His understanding seems doubtful at best after the some of the astonishingly ignorant claims he makes!

James F. Evans
September 10, 2021 1:14 pm

Seeing North America with inland water ways Strikes my imagination. And the fossils laid on the bed of this ancient seaway gives proof for its past existence.

In fact, that is where most if not all our proof exists (in what were once shallow seas, the world over) .

Barely any fossils have been found in the deep ocean.

One comment spoke of orogeny, the process of mountain formation.

Yes, mountains rising, and a general uplift of geological expressions overall.

How consistent is this pattern, does it constitute a process and if bared out by observation & measurement:

What does it mean?

James F. Evans
Reply to  James F. Evans
September 10, 2021 1:19 pm

Of aquatic animals.

Eric Porter
September 12, 2021 5:48 am

If all ice on earth melted, as unlikely as that is, the seas would rise 70m. Some parts of the country on the map are over 1500m!

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