Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

Detrital input, productivity fluctuations, and water mass circulation in the westernmost Mediterranean Sea since the Last Glacial Maximum

Authors


Abstract

[1] By presenting sea surface temperatures, planktonic oxygen isotope profiles, and bulk geochemical composition of core sediments, we offer a multiparameter reconstruction of Western Mediterranean oceanography from the Last Glacial Maximum until the Middle Holocene (20,000–5000 cal years B. P.). Sediments from Ocean Drilling Program Site 975 in the Algero-Balearic basin have been compared with three Alboran basin cores (TTR-300G, TTR-302G, and TTR-304G), all of them investigated at high resolution. This multiproxy approach has allowed two different modes of circulation to be recognized: (1) during the LGM and from ∼8.0 cal. ka B. P. onward, no surface gradient in δ18OG. bulloides is found associated with low productivity, in close analogy to modern conditions; (2) during the Bølling-Allerød and early Holocene, significant surface isotopic gradients are found with periods probably indicating an unstable water column, associated with enhanced productivity and low bottom oxygen conditions. The close synchrony between the occurrence of the surface isotopic offset and organic rich layer formation implicates that the origin of these features is linked, probably via shoaling of the regional thermohaline circulation. Paleo-SSTs, derived from planktonic foraminifer assemblages, indicate abrupt changes in surface conditions during the analyzed time interval. Fluctuations in marine productivity based on Ba and total organic carbon are related to water column stability and atmospheric conditions. A sharp warming and δ18OG. bulloides excursion at the end of the Younger Dryas is probably linked to glacial meltwater influence. The riverine input has been reconstructed using the Mg/Al ratio, and Mg/Al peaks during arid periods (Greenland Stadial-2a and Younger Dryas) related to “bypass” margin processes.

Ancillary