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A new seismic stratigraphy in the Indian-Atlantic Ocean gateway resembles major paleo-oceanographic changes of the last 7 Ma

Gruetzner, Jens, Jimenez Espejo, Francisco J., Lathika, Nambiyathodi, Uenzelmann-Neben, Gabriele, Hall, Ian R. ORCID:, Hemming, Sidney R., LeVay, Leah J., Expedition 361 Scientists and Tangunan, D. 2019. A new seismic stratigraphy in the Indian-Atlantic Ocean gateway resembles major paleo-oceanographic changes of the last 7 Ma. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 20 (1) , pp. 339-358. 10.1029/2018GC007668

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The exchange of water masses between the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic constitutes an integral inter‐ocean link in the global thermohaline circulation. Long‐term changes in deep water flow have been studied using seismic reflection profiles but the seismic stratigraphy was poorly constrained and not resolved for the time period from the late Miocene onward. Here, we present results from International Ocean Discovery Program Site U1475 (Agulhas Plateau) located over a sediment drift proximal to the entrance of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) into the Southern Ocean and South Indian Ocean. Site U1475 comprises a complete carbonate rich stratigraphic section of the last ~7 Ma that provides an archive of climate‐induced variations in ocean circulation. Six marker reflectors occurring in the upper 300 m of the drift are identified here for the first time. The formation of these reflectors is mainly due to density changes that are mostly caused by changes in biogenic vs. terrigenous sediment deposition. Synthetic seismograms allow age assignments for the horizons based on bio‐ and magnetostratigraphy. Prominent reflectors are related to late Pleistocene glacial/interglacial variability, the middle and early Pleistocene transitions, and the onset of the northern hemisphere glaciation. A peculiar early Pliocene interval (~ 5.3 – 4.0 Ma) bounded by two reflectors is characterized by 4‐fold elevated sedimentation rates (> 10 cm/kyr) and the occurrence of sediment waves. We argue that this enhanced sediment transport to the Agulhas Plateau was caused by a reorganization of the bottom current circulation pattern due to maximized inflow of NADW.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: D. Tangunan is an Expedition 361 Scientist
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
ISSN: 1525-2027
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 14 December 2018
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 19:12

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