True Polar Wander as a Mechanism for Second-Order Sea-Level Variations

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Science  23 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5350, pp. 534-537
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5350.534

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Long-term wander of the rotation pole can be a significant contributor to second-order (time scales of ∼100 million years) sea-level variations. Numerical predictions based on realistic viscoelastic Earth models and paleomagnetically constrained polar motion yield global-scale, differential sea-level trends that can be as large as ∼200 meters. From the results presented here, it is argued that the well-documented, second-order, Cretaceous-Tertiary sea-level cycle should be reinterpreted as some combination of a eustatic and a regionally varying rotational signal.

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