Benthic foraminifera and sediment grain size variability at intermediate water depths in the Northeast Atlantic during the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene

Research output: Other contribution

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sedimentological and faunal records from the transitional period marking the onset of widespread northern hemisphere glaciation have been investigated at Ocean Drilling Program Site 984. The late Pliocene interglacial sediments of the northeast Atlantic are carbonate rich and show evidence of vigorous bottom water circulation at intermediate water depths. Contrasting this, the late Pliocene glacial sediments are characterised by carbonate dissolution and slower bottom current velocities. Weak or "leaky" Norwegian Sea overflows, undersaturated with respect to carbonate, influenced this region during the late Pliocene glacials. The early Pleistocene pattern of intermediate water circulation appears to have changed radically in the northeast Atlantic. At this time, interglacial carbonate values and inferred bottom current velocities are low. This suggests slow-flowing, undersaturated Norwegian Sea water bathing the site. The overflow increased during the early Pleistocene interglacials as the exchange between the Atlantic and Norwegian-Greenland Seas improved. The most significant feature of the early Pleistocene glacials is the increase in inferred bottom current velocity. These changes reflect a switch in deep North Atlantic convection to shallower depths during glacial periods, possibly in a manner similar to the increasing contribution of glacial intermediate water to the North Atlantic during the late Pleistocene glacials. Our results suggest that the late Pleistocene climate variability of the North Atlantic is a pervasive feature of the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene record. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Volume170
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2000

Keywords

  • paleoceanography
  • northeast Atlantic
  • foraminifera
  • Pliocene
  • Pleistocene
  • sedimentology
  • FAEROE-SHETLAND CHANNEL
  • LAST GLACIAL MAXIMUM
  • THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION
  • NE ATLANTIC
  • FENI DRIFT
  • OCEAN
  • CLIMATE
  • ICE
  • RECORD
  • BOTTOM

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