Late Pleistocene biogenic sedimentation in the Gulf of Alaska: A biogeochemical perspective from IODP Expedition 341

Juliane.Mueller [ at ]


Reconstructing the timing and nature of past changes in aquatic productivity in the Gulf of Alaska (GoA) can shed light on the primary processes driving biogeochemical cycling over geologic timescales. Here, we present sedimentologic, physical property, stable isotope, and biogenic opal concentration data from IODP Expedition 341 Sites U1417 and U1419 and identify intervals where diatom ooze lithofacies and geochemical evidence for increased algal productivity are prevalent during the Pleistocene. Sites U1417 and U1419 are located in the center and the margin of the Fe-limited GoA, respectively, and they offer the potential to characterize past changes in biogeochemical cycling during different Pleistocene time intervals. Site U1419 cores were collected from a small slope basin at the edge of the continental shelf. Sediment cores reveal two prominent ~6-m-thick intervals of diatomaceous ooze. Between these intervals are numerous 20-cm-thick sections of biogenic-rich sediment, interbedded with gray mud that commonly contains lonestones. Based on preliminary age models, the two diatom ooze intervals likely correspond to the Holocene and MIS 3, while the intervening interbedded glacigenic and biogenic sediment can broadly be ascribed to MIS 2. Diatomaceous ooze and diatom-rich sediments are generally characterized by lower magnetic susceptibility, natural gamma ray, bulk density, and higher b* color reflectance. Initial C & N concentration and stable isotopic data show elevated concentrations and more positive stable isotope values during the Holocene and MIS 3, which approximate the isotopic signature of modern phytoplankton measured in the GoA. Within the glacial period, the biogenic-rich intervals are also characterized by more positive C and N isotopic values. When combined with the shipboard physical property data, the stable isotopic results are indicative of millennial-scale variations in productivity and/or changes in glacial ice extent in the GoA during the last glacial period. We will discuss these results in the context of an improved isotope stratigraphy and ongoing work examining multiple interglacial productivity variations at Site U1417.

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AGU Fall Meeting, 14 Dec 2014 - 19 Dec 2014, San Francisco, CA, USA.
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Moy, C. , Addison, J. , Finney, B. , Bahlburg, H. , Childress, L. , Cowan, E. , Forwick, M. , Müller, J. , Ribeiro, F. and Ridgway, K. (2014): Late Pleistocene biogenic sedimentation in the Gulf of Alaska: A biogeochemical perspective from IODP Expedition 341 , AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA, 14 December 2014 - 19 December 2014 .

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