The timing and course of the last deglaciation is generally considered to be an essential component for understanding the dynamics of large ice sheets (Lindstrom and MacAyeal, 1993) and their effects on Earth's isostasy (Lambeck, 1993; Peltier, 1994). Moreover, the disappearance of glacial ice sheets was responsible for dramatic changes in the freshwater fluxes to the oceans, which disturbed the general thermohaline circulation and, hence, global climate (e.g., Stocker and Wright, 1991). Coral reefs, like the one that surrounds Tahiti, are excellent sea level indicators, and their accurate dating by mass spectrometry is of prime importance for determining the timing of deglaciation events and thus for understanding of the mechanisms driving glacialinterglacial cycles. Furthermore, scleractinian coral colonies can monitor and record past sea-surface temperatures (SSTs).
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