Magnetic susceptibility variations in upper Pleistocene deep-sea sediments of the NE Atlantic; implications for ice rafting and paleocirculation at the last glacial maximum

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doi: 10.1029/94PA02683
Author(s): Robinson, Simon G.; Maslin, Mark A.; McCave, I. Nicholas
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
University of Cambridge, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Volume Title: Paleoceanography
Source: Paleoceanography, 10(2), p.221-250. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0883-8305 CODEN: POCGEP
Note: In English. 102 refs.; illus., incl. 1 table, sketch maps
Summary: Magnetic susceptibility (MS) variations are used to intercorrelate 17 Upper Pleistocene sediment cores taken from the NE Atlantic, between 40° and 60°N. The MS-based correlation depends on regionally consistent patterns of variation in the deposition of ice-rafted detritus (IRD) in response to Pleistocene glaciations, and especially to high-frequency ice-rafting episodes referred to in recent studies as "Heinrich events." The sedimentological and rock-magnetic basis for the apparent relationship between the MS signal and IRD content of NE Atlantic sediments is examined by (1) comparing the MS profiles of selected cores with their records of coarse fraction (> 150 µm) lithic fragment abundance and Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (sin) percentages, and (2) normalizing MS by expressing it both on a carbonate-free basis, and as a quotient with anhysteretic remanent magnetization (a parameter sensitive to magnetic mineral grain size variations). These comparisons show that variations in bulk-sediment MS are only partly driven by simple carbonate dilution (± productivity and dissolution) effects. Changes in both the concentration and grain size of magnetic minerals within the lithogenic noncarbonate fraction also impose a significant influence on bulk MS values. In particular, horizons rich in IRD are associated with significant increases in the relative proportion of coarse grained (multidomain) ferrimagnetic particles in the sediment. This is because ice-rafting, in contrast to most other mechanisms capable of transporting detrital magnetic minerals to pelagic environments, has a high potential for delivering large ferrimagnetic grains as components of sand-sized, polycrystalline lithic fragments. This fundamental linkage between the IRD content and MS signal of NE Atlantic sediments is used to reconstruct the patterns of variation in IRD deposition and, by inference, surface currents of the last glacial maximum (LGM, ∼18-19 ka) relative to the present-day NE Atlantic, using the time-slice mapping approach developed by the CLIMAP project group. Our LGM/Holocene MS ratio map, based on sample pairs from over 80 deep-sea cores, confirms that there was a weak, cyclonic gyre north of the polar front in the LGM North Atlantic. The gyre comprised a sluggish warm current in the NE Atlantic flowing north between latitudes 47° and 62°N, partly fed by subtropical waters from south of the polar front, and carrying large numbers of icebergs derived from several sources, most of which melted between Latitudes 45° and 52°N. The warm current probably continued its flow into the Iceland Basin, where it fed into a south-flowing current which transported melting icebergs from Iceland and Scandinavia along the western flank of the Reykjanes Ridge. Copyright 1995 by the American Geophysical Union.
Year of Publication: 1995
Research Program: DSDP Deep Sea Drilling Project
IPOD International Phase of Ocean Drilling
Key Words: 24 Surficial Geology, Quaternary Geology; Anhysteretic remanent magnetization; Atlantic Ocean; Cenozoic; Correlation; DSDP Site 553; DSDP Site 607; DSDP Site 609; DSDP Site 610; Deep Sea Drilling Project; Deep-sea environment; Foraminifera; Fragments; Globigerinacea; Heinrich events; Holocene; IPOD; Ice rafting; Invertebrata; Isotope ratios; Isotopes; Last glacial maximum; Leg 81; Leg 94; Magnetic susceptibility; Magnetization; Magnetostratigraphy; Marine environment; Marine sediments; Microfossils; Neogloboquadrina; Neogloboquadrina pachyderma; North Atlantic; Northeast Atlantic; O-18/O-16; Oxygen; Paleo-oceanography; Paleocirculation; Paleocurrents; Paleomagnetism; Pleistocene; Protista; Quaternary; Reconstruction; Remanent magnetization; Rotaliina; Sediment transport; Sediments; Stable isotopes; Time-slice methods; Upper Pleistocene
Coordinates: N560519 N560520 W0232036 W0232037
N410004 N410005 W0325726 W0325727
N495240 N495241 W0241417 W0241418
N531318 N531329 W0185312 W0185342
Record ID: 1997053825
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