The phanerozoic record of global sea-level change

Kenneth G. Miller, Michelle A. Kominz, James V. Browning, James D. Wright, Gregory S. Mountain, Miriam E. Katz, Peter J. Sugarman, Benjamin S. Cramer, Nicholas Christie-Blick, Stephen F. Pekar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2407 Scopus citations


We review Phanerozoic sea-level changes [543 million years ago (Ma) to the present] on various time scales and present a new sea-level record for the past 100 million years (My). Long-term sea level peaked at 100 ± 50 meters during the Cretaceous, implying that ocean-crust production rates were much lower than previously inferred. Sea level mirrors oxygen isotope variations, reflecting ice-volume change on the 104- to 106-year scale, but a link between oxygen isotope and sea level on the 10 7-year scale must be due to temperature changes that we attribute to tectonically controlled carbon dioxide variations. Sea-level change has influenced phytoplankton evolution, ocean chemistry, and the loci of carbonate, organic carbon, and siliciclastic sediment burial. Over the past 100 My, sea-level changes reflect global climate evolution from a time of ephemeral Antarctic ice sheets (100 to 33 Ma), through a time of large ice sheets primarily in Antarctica (33 to 2.5 Ma), to a world with large Antarctic and large, variable Northern Hemisphere ice sheets (2.5 Ma to the present).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1298
Number of pages6
Issue number5752
StatePublished - Nov 25 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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