Paleoceanographic changes in the dynamics of subtropical Atlantic surface conditions at Hole 997A

H. Nishi, R. D. Norris, H. Okada

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Hole 997A was drilled during Leg 164 of the Ocean Drilling Program at a depth of 2770 m on the topographic crest of the Blake Ridge in the western Atlantic Ocean. We report here an analysis of the faunal assemblages of planktonic foraminifers in a total of 91 samples (0.39-91.89 mbsf interval) spanning the last 2.15 m.y., latest Pliocene to Holocene. The abundant species, Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerinoides sacculifer, Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globorotalia inflata, and Globigerinita glutinata together exceed over ~70% of the total fauna. Each species exhibits fluctuations with amplitudes of 10%-20% or more. Despite their generally low abundance, the distinct presence/absence behavior of the Globorotalia menardii group is almost synchronous with glacial-interglacial climate cycles during the upper part of Brunhes Chron. The quantitative study and factor analysis of planktonic foraminiferal assemblages shows that the planktonic foraminiferal fauna in Hole 997A consists of four groups: warm water, subtropical gyre (mixed-layer species), gyre margin (thermocline/upwelling species), and subpolar assemblages. The subtropical gyre assemblage dominates throughout the studied section, whereas the abundance of gyre margin taxa strongly control the overall variability in faunal abundance at Site 997. In sediments older than the Olduvai Subchron, the planktonic foraminiferal faunas are characterized by fluctuations in both the subtropical gyre and gyre margin assemblages, similar to those in the Brunhes Chron. The upwelling/gyre margin fauna increased in abundance just before the Jaramillo Subchron and was dominant between 0.7 and 1.07 Ma. The transition from this gyre margin-dominated assemblage to an increase in abundance of the subtropical gyre and gyre margin species occurred around 0.7 Ma, near the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary. The presence of low-oxygen-tolerant benthic foraminifers, pyrite tubes, and abundant diatoms below the Brunhes/Matuyama boundary suggests decreased oxygenation of intermediate waters and more upwelling over the Blake-Bahama Outer Ridge, perhaps because of weaker Upper North Atlantic Deep Water ventilation. The changes in the relative composition of foraminifer assemblages took place at least twice, around 700 and 1000 ka, close to the ~930-ka switch from obliquity-forced climate variation to the 100-k.y. eccentricity cycle. The climate shift at 700 ka suggests a transition from relatively warmer conditions in the early Pleistocene to warm-cool oscillations in the Brunhes Chron.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-363
Number of pages21
JournalProceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program: Scientific Results
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geology


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