Sediment accumulation rates of sediment cores from the North-West African continental margin

2019-11-21T11:57:46Z (GMT) by Uwe Pflaumann
Six soft sediment cores, up to and over 9 m in length, and additional surface samples were selected for study of their planktonic foraminifera to provide information on the Holocene and Pleistocene stratigraphy of the West African continental margin south of the present boundary of the Sahara. The material was collected by the German research vessel "Meteor" during Cruise 25 in 1971. The residues larger than 160 microns determined, counted and statistically evaluated. Stratigraphical correlations with trans- Antlantic regions are given by occurrence of Truncorotalidoides hexagonus and Globorotalia tumidula flexuosa which mark the last interglacial stage. According to the climatic record the two deep-sea cores extend down to the V-zone, considered here as equivalent to the Mindel-Riss-interglacial time, as there are three distinctly warm and two cold periods indicated in the cores by planktonic foraminiferal faunas. Z-zone = Holocene is present in all cores, Y-zone = Wuermian glacial can be divided into five section, three cold and two warm stages; the X-zone can be divided into three warm stages, separated into two cool periods. The earliest warm stage is indicated to be the warmest one. There are excellent correlations to the Camp century ice core from Greenland, to the Mediterranean, to the Carribean and to the tropical Atlantic as well as to the Barnados stage. The W-zone was correlated to the Riss-glacial. V-zone is a warm period, the upper limit of which being not sufficiently defined, which contains also some cool sections. Increasing sedimentation rates from the deep-sea to the upper slope reveal climatic and regional details in Holocene and Late Pleistocene history of the continental margin. These were based mainly on different parameters of planktonic foraminiferal thanatocoenoses which are the main components of the size fraction >160 microns of the pelagic core. They become incerasingly diluted by other faunal and terrigenous components with decreasing slope depths. Estimates of absolute abundances, ranging from 25000 specimens/gm of sediment in the deep sea to less than 100, indicate various sedimentary processes at the continental margin. An ecological correlation by dominant species is possible. Readily computed temperature indices of different scales are presented which indicate, for instance, three distinctly cold sections within the last glacial and seven warm sections within the last interglacial lime. These are used for estimates of sedimentation rates. During cold periods sedimentation rates are higher than during warmer periods. Stratigraphic correlation and faunal record, combined with absolute abundances and sedimentation rates, indicated that in the deep sea turbidity currents not only cause high sedimentation rates for short periods of time, but also that material is occasionally eroded. Effects of upwelling may be detected in the surfacc sediment samples as well as in late Pleistocene and early Holocene samples of the slope by planktonic foraminiferal data which are not influenced by sedimentary processes.

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CC BY 4.0