Temperature and Productivity Variability Along the Southwestern Portuguese Margin During the Onset of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition

Friday, 19 December 2014
Emilia Salgueiro1,2, Antje H L Voelker1,2, Fatima F G Abrantes1,2, Teresa Rodrigues1,2, Francisco J Sierro3, David A Hodell4, Ana Alberto1 and Pedro Seabra Freitas1,2, (1)Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA), Divisão de Geologia e Georecursos Marinhos, Lisbon, Portugal, (2)Cimar, Porto, Portugal, (3)University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain, (4)University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
The Southwest Portuguese Margin sedimentary record is influenced by the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW), with a strong thermohaline signature occurring between 500 and 1500m water depth. Variations of MOW intensity during the Late Quaternary (±750ky) are related to changes in the global climate and in the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. To validate the sedimentary climate records on the Southwestern Portuguese Margin we performed a regional core-top multi-proxy study (Corg, CaCO3, grain size, foraminifera abundances, stable isotopes) to distinguish the MOW effects in recent sediments. The influence of this high velocity bottom current is marked in sediments by a strong increase of the sand content at both, the upper and lower, MOW boundaries. An increase of fine sediments is due to winnowing by the current, resulting in a drastic change in the accumulation rates of any sand-sized biogenic particle. For this reason, some of the traditional productivity proxies used such as Corg, planktonic and benthic foraminifera total abundances, should not be used at sites under the influence of contour currents. However, we demonstrate that the planktonic foraminifera relative abundances can be used with confidence because they are independent of the action of the MOW. Based on the planktonic foraminifera assemblages in two IODP Sites, U1387 recovered from the MOW influenced Faro Drift, and U1385 recovered at 2578m, we reconstruct the sea surface temperature (SST) and export productivity (Pexp) during the beginning of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, Marine Isotope Stages 36 and 35. At Site U1387: i) foraminifera-derived SST was compared with biomarkers SST and foraminiferal δ18O data; ii) foraminifera-derived Pexp was compared with the Corg; and iii) the influence of the MOW on the sediments was deducted from the weight percent of the sand fraction, indicating contourite layers, and the benthic foraminiferal δ18O and δ13C data.