Story: Geology – overview

Sea levels in the last 20,000 years

Sea levels in the last 20,000 years

Worldwide, the climate gradually warmed and ended the last ice age. Melting ice caused the sea level to rise to about 1 metre above its present level 7,000 years ago. It then dropped to its present level. This graph shows the changing sea level around New Zealand, based on 82 data points from eight sites around the coast. There have been minor fluctuations over the last 7,000 years, but all less than 0.5 metre.

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Source: J. G. Gibb, ‘New Zealand regional Holocene eustatic sea-level curve and its application to determination of vertical tectonic movements.’ Royal Society of New Zealand Bulletin 24 (1986): 377–395, with additional data from David Lowe (University of Waikato)

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, 'Geology – overview - Holocene – the last 10,000 years', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 March 2023)

Story by Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, published 12 Jun 2006