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Keywords:

  • Paleoceanography;
  • North Atlantic Ocean;
  • Leg 162;
  • ODP Site 982

[1] Oxygen and carbon isotope records are presented for the benthic foraminifer Cibicidoides wuellerstorfi from upper middle through lower upper Miocene (11.6–8.2 Ma) sediments recovered at intermediate water depth (1134 m) at Ocean Drilling Program Site 982 on Rockall Plateau. Oxygen isotopic values generally lighter than those for the Holocene indicate significantly warmer intermediate waters and/or less global ice volume during the late middle to early late Miocene than at the present. The most depleted oxygen isotope values occurred at around 10.5 Ma. After this time a long-term increase in δ18O suggests a gradual increase in global ice volume and/or cooling of intermediate waters during the late Miocene. Comparison of the intermediate depth benthic foraminiferal carbon isotope record from Site 982 and records from various North Atlantic deep sites shows that intermediate waters were generally better ventilated than deep waters between 11.6 and 9.6 Ma. During this time period, increased ventilation of intermediate waters was linked to cooling or the build up of polar ice caps. The Mi events originally proposed by Miller et al. [1991b] and Wright and Miller [1992] are difficult to identify with certainty in sediments sampled at high resolution (<104 year). Comparison of the high-resolution benthic δ18O records from ODP Site 982 with the low-resolution benthic δ18O record from Monte Gibliscemi (Mediterranean) show that Mi events, if real, may not be of importance as a stratigraphic tool in upper Miocene sedimentary sequences.