Variations in Organic Matter Burial and Composition in Sediments from the Indian Ocean Continental Margin Off SW Indonesia (Sumatra – Java – Flores) Since the Last Glacial Maximum
Friday, 19 December 2014
Global climate change is a mosaic of regional changes to a large extent determined by region-specific feedbacks between climate and ecosystems. At present the ocean is forming a major sink in the global carbon cycle. Organic matter (OM) storage in sediments displays large regional variations and varied over time during the Quaternary. Upwelling regions are sites of high primary productivity and major depocenters of organic carbon (OC), the least understood of which is the Indian Ocean upwelling off Indonesia. In order to reconstruct the burial and composition of OM during the Late Quaternary, we analyzed five sediment cores from the Indian Ocean continental margin off the Indonesian islands Sumatra to Flores spanning the last 20,000 years (20 kyr). Sediments were analyzed for bulk composition, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of OM, amino acids and hexosamines and terrestrial plant wax n-alkanes and their stable carbon isotope composition. Sedimentation rates hardly varied over time in the western part of the transect. They were slightly lower in the East during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and deglaciation, but increased strongly during the Holocene. The amount and composition of OM was similar along the transect with maximum values during the deglaciation and the late Holocene. High biogenic opal covarying with OM content indicates upwelling-induced primary productivity dominated by diatoms to be a major control of OM burial in sediments in the East during the past 20 kyr. The content of labile OM was low throughout the transect during the LGM and increased during the late Holocene. The increase was stronger and the OM less degraded in the East than in the West indicating that continental margin sediments off Java and Flores were the major depocenter of OC burial along the Indian Ocean margin off SW Indonesia. Temporal variations probably resulted from changes in upwelling intensity and terrestrial inputs driven by variations in monsoon strength.