Quaternary Antarctic Bottom-Water History: Deep-Sea Benthonic Foraminiferal Evidence from the Southeast Indian Ocean
Distinct assemblages of Recent deep-sea benthonic foraminifera from the southeast Indian Ocean have been shown to be associated with Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) and Indian Bottom Water (IBW). The AABW assemblage is divided into two groups. One is dominated byEpistominella umboniferaand is associated with AABW having temperatures between −0.2° and 0.4°C. The second group is dominated byGlobocassidulina subglobosaand is associated with AABW having temperatures between 0.6° and 0.8°C. The IBW assemblage is marked by the strong dominance ofUvigerinaspp. andEpistominella exigua. The faunal-water-mass relationships have been used to infer the history of bottom-water circulation over the last 500,000 yr in this region using faunal data from fourEltanincores. One core was taken from the Southeast Indian Ridge in association with IBW, and three were taken from the flank of the ridge associated with AABW flowing within a western boundary contour current in the South Australian Basin. Little faunal variation exists in the core beneath IBW (E48-22), indicating that IBW was present on the Southeast Indian Ridge during the last 300,000 yr. A record of the intensity of AABW circulation during the last 500,000 yr is inferred from the benthonic foraminiferal data in the three cores located within the western boundary contour current. Marked oscillations in the relative proportions of AABW and IBW faunal assemblages are found in one core, E48-03. The faunal variations are inferred to have resulted from variation in intensity of AABW circulation between 500,000 and 195,000 yr B.P. In E48-03, the AABW assemblage was present most of the time between 500,000 and 195,000 yr B.P., with low intensity of AABW circulation occurring primarily during the equivalent of stages 8 and 7 (t= 305,000 to 195,000 yr B.P.). The intensity of AABW circulation varied, with a maximum occurring during the equivalent of stage 11 (t= 420,000 yr B.P.). Two additional cores, E45-27 and E45–74, show relatively constant intensity of AABW circulation from 195,000 yr B.P. to the present. The intensity of AABW circulation at the present appears to be intermediate between a maximum during the equivalent of stage 11 (t= 420,000 yr B.P.) and the minimum during the equivalent of stage 8 (t= 275,000 yr B.P.). AABW production has occurred during both glacial and interglacial episodes. Bottom-water productivity has been suggested to play an important role in glacial/interglacial oscillations during the late Quaternary (Weyl, 1968; Newell, 1974). In this study, the relationship between bottom-water circulation and climatic fluctuations appears to be more complex than had been previously suggested, since a simple relationship between Quaternary bottom-water circulation and paleoclimatic fluctuations is not shown.
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