Modern modes of provenance and dispersal of terrigenous sediments in the North Pacific and Bering Sea: Implications and perspectives for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions


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Bernhard.Diekmann [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

During expedition 202 aboard the RV Sonne in 2009, 39 seafloor surface sediment sites were sampled over a wide sector of the North Pacific and adjoining Bering Sea. The data served to infer land–ocean linkages of terrigenous sediment supply in terms of major sources and modes of sediment transport within an over-regional context. This is based on an integrated approach dealing with grain-size analysis, bulk mineralogy and clay mineralogy in combination with statistical data evaluation (end-member modelling of grainsize data, fuzzy cluster analysis of mineralogical data). The findings on clay mineralogy served to update those of earlier work extracted from the literature. Today, two processes of terrigenous sediment supply prevail in the study area: fardistance aeolian sediment supply to the pelagic North Pacific, and hemipelagic sediment dispersal from nearby land sources via ocean currents along the continental margins and island arcs. Aeolian particles show the finest grain sizes (clay and fine silt), whereas hemipelagic sediments have high abundances of coarse silt. Exposed sites on seamounts and the continental slope are partly swept by strong currents, leading to residual enrichment of fine sand. Four sediment sources canbe distinguished on the basis of distinct index minerals revealed by statistical data analysis: dust plumes from central Asia (quartz, illite), altered materials from the volcanic regions of Kamchatka and the Aleutian Arc (smectite), detritus from the Alaskan Cordillera (chlorite, hornblende), and fluvial detritus from far-eastern Siberia and the Alaska mainland (quartz, feldspar, illite). These findings confirm those of former studies but considerably expand the geographic range of this suite of proxies as far south as 39°N in the open North Pacific. The present integrated methodological approach proved useful in identifying the major modern processes of terrigenous sediment supply to the study region. This aspect deserves attention in the selection of sediment core sites for future palaeoenvironmental reconstructions related to aeolian and glacial dynamics, as well as the recognition of palaeoocean circulation patterns in general.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
43260
DOI 10.1007/s00367-016-0445-7

Cite as
Wang, R. , Biskaborn, B. K. , Ramisch, A. , Ren, J. , Zhang, J. , Gersonde, R. and Diekmann, B. (2016): Modern modes of provenance and dispersal of terrigenous sediments in the North Pacific and Bering Sea: Implications and perspectives for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions , Geo-Marine Letters, 36 (4), pp. 259-270 . doi: 10.1007/s00367-016-0445-7


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