Surface sediment characteristics related to provenance and ocean circulation in the Drake Passage sector of the Southern Ocean


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Gerhard.Kuhn [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Understanding present-day sediment provenance and transport processes is crucial for studies about the dynamics of ocean circulation, as well as for paleoclimate reconstructions in the Drake Passage (DP), a key area for Earth's global oceanic circulation and climate during past and future. Based on a comprehensive set of surface sediment samples, we used spatial variations in grain-size distribution, bulk sediment mineralogy, silt and clay mineralogy across the entire DP region to elucidate the terrigenous sources and transport mechanisms. The statistical evaluation of these data identifies southern Patagonia (carbonate, illite, chlorite, feldspar and quartz) and the Antarctic Peninsula (chlorite, smectite, and amphibole) as the main sources for terrigenous sediments in the DP region. Different current systems are transporting the sediment material. Here, we provide a new, robust flow speed calibration for silt grain-sizes to enable the reconstruction of Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) dynamics in the DP sector of the Southern Ocean. We correlated the sortable silt mean grain-size records of surface sediments with adjacent long-term current meter data. A clear bottom current speed pattern shows the variability of the ACC in the DP responding to the dynamics of ocean fronts, in agreement with modern observation.



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Article
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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Eprint ID
50989
DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2019.103135

Cite as
Wu, S. , Kuhn, G. , Diekmann, B. , Lembke-Jene, L. , Tiedemann, R. , Zheng, X. , Ehrhardt, S. , Arz, H. W. and Lamy, F. (2019): Surface sediment characteristics related to provenance and ocean circulation in the Drake Passage sector of the Southern Ocean , Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 154 , p. 103135 . doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2019.103135


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