Plio-Pleistocene paleoclimatic variability: results from the NW Arabian Sea

Thursday, 18 December 2014
M Prakasam1, Anil Kumar Gupta1,2, Arumugam Yuvaraja1 and Angamuthu Velu3, (1)Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, India, (2)Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Kharagpur, India, (3)CSI College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Ooty, India
The Plio-Pleistocene period is marked by numerous changes in Earth’s climate and tectonics. The early Pliocene average global surface temperature of ~3° C was warmer than today and the sea level was high around 10-20 m, whereas the continents adjudicated its present day position. In this study we discussed about Indian monsoon variability during the Plio-Pleistocene. Numerous investigations were carried out over the last two decades to understand Indian summer monsoon (ISM) variability and its relation to Himalayan tectonics. The ISM is a principal factor to the economy of the south Asian countries playing immense role in changing fauna and flora on land as well as socio-economic conditions of this region. The Arabian Sea is a natural laboratory to carry out paleoclimatic studies on marine sediments. In this study four Ocean Drilling Programme sediment cores were used from the northwestern Arabian Sea, Leg 117, Holes 722B, 731A (Owen Ridge) and 728B, 730A (Oman margin). The planktonic foraminiferal species abundances, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) wt.% and carbonate concentration (CaCO3) proxies were utilised to understand Plio-Pleistocene Indian monsoon variability. The relative abundances of Globigerina bulloides, Globigerinita glutinata and mixed layer species reveal changes in upwelling and mixed layer since the Pliocene. Our results demonstrate that intense upwelling occurred during 5 to ~3.7 Ma, 1.5Ma to Recent and an abrupt change was recorded around 0.1 Ma at all the Holes. The weakening of upwelling occurred from 3.5 Ma to ~1.5 Ma, hence we argue that this is due to Northern Hemisphere Glaciation. Mixed layer species show higher abundances from 2 Ma to 0.8 Ma. The TOC wt.% varies from 7.8% to 0.5% and productive increased many fold during 4 to 2 Ma. The results of TOC and CaCO3 are inversely correlated indicating role of carbonate dissolution.