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Glacial to Holocene terrigenous organic matter input to sediments from Orca Basin, Gulf of Mexico — a combined optical and biomarker approach


Meckler, A N; Schubert, C J; Hochuli, P A; Plessen, B; Birgel, D; Flower, B P; Hinrichs, K-U; Haug, G H (2008). Glacial to Holocene terrigenous organic matter input to sediments from Orca Basin, Gulf of Mexico — a combined optical and biomarker approach. Earth and planetary science letters, 272(1-2):251-263.

Abstract

In this study we assessed changes in the contribution of terrigenous organic matter (OM) to the Gulf of Mexico over the course of the last deglaciation (the last 25 kyr). To this end, we combined optical kerogen analyses with bulk sedimentary, biomarker, and compound-specific carbon isotope analyses. Samples were obtained from core MD02-2550 from Orca Basin (2249 m water depth at 26°56.77N, 91°20.74W) with temporal resolution ranging from multi-decadal to millennial-scale, depending on the proxy. All proxies confirmed larger terrigenous input during glacial times compared to the Holocene. In addition, the kerogen analyses suggest that much of the glacial OM is reworked (at least 50% of spores and pollen grains and 40% of dinoflagellate cysts). The Holocene sediments, in contrast, contain mainly marine OM, which is exceptionally well preserved. During the deglaciation, terrigenous input was generally high due to large meltwater fluxes, whereby discrepancies between different proxies call for additional influences, such as the change in distance to the river mouth, local productivity changes, and hydrodynamic particle sorting. It is possible that kerogen particles and the terrigenous biomarkers studied here represent distinct pools of land-derived OM with inputs varying independently.

Abstract

In this study we assessed changes in the contribution of terrigenous organic matter (OM) to the Gulf of Mexico over the course of the last deglaciation (the last 25 kyr). To this end, we combined optical kerogen analyses with bulk sedimentary, biomarker, and compound-specific carbon isotope analyses. Samples were obtained from core MD02-2550 from Orca Basin (2249 m water depth at 26°56.77N, 91°20.74W) with temporal resolution ranging from multi-decadal to millennial-scale, depending on the proxy. All proxies confirmed larger terrigenous input during glacial times compared to the Holocene. In addition, the kerogen analyses suggest that much of the glacial OM is reworked (at least 50% of spores and pollen grains and 40% of dinoflagellate cysts). The Holocene sediments, in contrast, contain mainly marine OM, which is exceptionally well preserved. During the deglaciation, terrigenous input was generally high due to large meltwater fluxes, whereby discrepancies between different proxies call for additional influences, such as the change in distance to the river mouth, local productivity changes, and hydrodynamic particle sorting. It is possible that kerogen particles and the terrigenous biomarkers studied here represent distinct pools of land-derived OM with inputs varying independently.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:July 2008
Deposited On:09 Jan 2009 10:20
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:46
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0012-821X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2008.04.046

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