The Eirik Drift lies on the continental slope south of Greenland, where it has been formed under the influence of Northern Component Water (NCW). NCW flow is an essential part of the global Thermohaline Circulation (THC), which is closely connected to the world's climate. Changes in pathways and intensity of NCW flow bear information about modifications of the North Atlantic THC in a changing climate. There is some disagreement about when deep-current controlled sedimentation at the Eirik Drift started. While the onset of drift building was previously dated as early Pliocene or late Miocene in age we suggest that the effect of large-scale current deposition had been initiated by at least 19-17 Ma based on the seismostratigraphic analysis of sedimentary structures identified in a set of high-resolution seismic reflection data. This assumption of an early Miocene onset of NCW flow is supported by regional evidence regarding the breaching of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge, which is documented in several erosional unconformities within the North Atlantic. After the onset of deep-current controlled sedimentation at the Eirik Drift, two major changes in the deep-current system are revealed during the Miocene: At the mid- to late Miocene boundary (12-10 Ma) and at 7.5 Ma.
AWI Organizations > Geosciences > Marine Geology and Paleontology