Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 January 2017
Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) reflection profiles were interpreted and combined with sedimentological data to highlight the morpho-evolutionary history of the southwestern sector of the Bohai Sea. The internal structures in GPR images obtained near the Holocene maximum transgression boundary revealed concave-upward and onlap types of transgressive paleotopography. The relationship between historical courses of the Yellow River and the distribution of shell ridges at three periods (6 ka, 2 ka, and recent times) showed that the concave-upward types derived from the marine sediments overlap the fluvial sediments, and the onlap types from the marine sediments cover the coastal lagoon sediments. Based on the above paleogeographical setting, previous sea-level markers were corrected, taking into account uncertainties of their relationship to former water levels. The rates of vertical tectonic displacement, evaluated through comparison of the relative sea level (RSL) data from the GPR images and the Holocene predicted sea-level elevation, markedly affected RSL changes. The fitted RSL curves from the corrected sea-level indicators showed that the accuracy of former sea-level determinations can be improved by comparing with the maximum transgressive position of GPR detection. A topographic digital elevation model (DEM) for 6 ka is reconstructed based on the corrected data.