Detrital sources and water mass circulation in the tropical North Atlantic during the Late Cretaceous to Paleogene

Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:30 AM
Ellen Eckels Martin1, Emily Pugh1,2, George D Kamenov1 and Kenneth G MacLeod3, (1)University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States, (2)Chevron Midland, Midland, TX, United States, (3)University of Missouri Columbia, Columbia, MO, United States
Seawater Nd isotopes from fossil fish teeth in Campanian to Paleogene calcareous claystone on Demerara Rise in the tropical North Atlantic record a change from epsilon Nd values of -17 to -11 during the late Maastrichtian. This shift has been identified in three different Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sites that span from 600 to 1500 m paleodepths (ODP sites 1259, 1260 and 1261) and has been interpreted as a transition from a warm saline intermediate water mass formed on the South American margin, referred to as Demerara Bottom Water, to a source from the North Atlantic. A study of corresponding detrital Sr, Nd and Pb isotopes was undertaken to confirm the isotopic values derived from fish teeth record water mass compositions rather than diagenesis or boundary exchange.

Several leaching procedures designed to remove Fe-Mn oxide coatings and the seawater signature they carry from the detrital fractions were tested. Sr isotopic data indicate a 0.02 M hydroxylamine hydrochloride (HH) leach was ineffective at removing the Fe-Mn oxides whereas a 1.0 M HH leach produced detrital Sr isotopic values that were consistent for all three sites and plotted farther from the seawater value. Detrital isotopic results can be divided into three intervals: 1) 73 – 66 Ma, when DBW is present, 2) 66 – 61 Ma, during the transition to North Atlantic sources, and 3) <61 Ma, when North Atlantic sources appear to dominate. During interval 1, detrital Nd isotopes increase gradually, while Sr and Pb isotopic ratios are relatively constant. Leading into interval 2, detrital Nd isotopes are fairly constant while there is a stepwise increase in Sr and Pb isotopes. Leading into interval 3, there is a large increase in Nd and decrease in Sr isotopes and a slight decrease in Pb isotopes.

The subtle differences in the timing of changes in fish teeth and detrital Nd isotopes suggest the seawater signal is responding to changes in water mass rather than changes in sediment composition (boundary exchange). The timing of the changes in detrital inputs indicates changes in provenance may correlate with the rearrangement of the currents transporting sediment to the region associated with the transition from a water mass sourced from the tropics to a more northern source.