Younger Dryas - Holocene oceanography of the eastern Labrador Sea, based on multiproxy analysis of a sediment record from the southwest Greenland Shelf

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Christina Sheldon1, Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz1, Christof Pearce2, Marie-Michèle Ouellet-Bernier3 and Anne de Vernal3, (1)Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, (2)Stockholm University, Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden, (3)University of Quebec at Montreal UQAM, Montreal, QC, Canada
We present the preliminary results of our study exploring the Younger Dryas - Holocene record of the West Greenland Current (WGC) and indirectly the strength of the subpolar gyre (SPG). Our results are based on analysis of a ca. 6 m long marine gravity core taken from 398.2 meters water depth on the southwestern Greenland shelf, just offshore Nuuk, Greenland. Selected samples of the sediment core were analyzed for benthic foraminifera, dinoflagellate cysts, and geochemistry. Based on radiocarbon dates on mollusk remains from several depths in the core, the record spans the time period from approx. 12.5 cal kya BP up to the present day. This core is well located in the pathway of the WGC, just before the divergence point where the current either continues northward along Western Greenland or splits off to the west, crossing the Davis Strait. The strength of the SPG is strongly tied to the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Preliminary analysis of benthic foraminifera suggests that the WGC had a strong Atlantic (Irminger Current) component, in addition to entrained Arctic Water from the East Greenland Current. This project is intended to determine the relative contributions of these currents to the WGC as well as the strength of the subpolar gyre throughout the Holocene.