Ancient Coastline

Friday - 16/10/2020 13:12
The relatively low lands on the Little Island’s western side are residential areas and garlic and onion fields. The eastern part of the island is unproductive, comprising dark grey basaltic rocks and a fine grained reddish-yellowish and grey-brown dune that’s from 15 to 25 meters high. This terrain is similar to the coastal areas of Ba Lang An, Phuoc Thien and Le Thuy.

The weathering process created the dune’s colour. Scientists believe the wind has re-worked these areas, turning the geologic materials into the reddish, grey-brown sand dunes typical of the coast. The presence of this coastal sand on the Little Island suggests that the island used to be a part of the mainland coast. This would mean that the sea level was 60 meters lower than it is today when the dunes began to form.

Scientists have found that the sea level has changed significantly over the past 130,000 years. Approximately 130,000 years ago, the sea level was at the present-day level. After that, it experienced a prolonged decease at different periods. In particular, from 100,000-80,000 years ago, it was 20 meters lower; from 60,000-40,000 years ago, it was 60 meters lower and at around 20,000 years ago, it was 130 meters lower. After that, the sea level started rising, so that at 10,000 years ago, it was 20 meters lower. Interesting, from 7,000-4,000 years ago, sea level sharply fluctuated, rising to 4-5 meters higher than today then dropping to 4 meters lower than today. The same pattern was witnessed at 2,500 to 500 years ago, which the sea level was 1.5-2 meters higher before decreasing to 2 meters lower than the present-day level. Since then, it has been gradually on the rise. 

In fact, not only the sea level but also the continents experienced fluctuation throughout history. Scientists have taken samples of the dune for analysis to identify its age, and they believe it to be around 10,000 years old.
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