Early Holocene Meltwater Routing in the Labrador Sea
Thursday, 17 December 2015: 10:20
2012 (Moscone West)
The purpose of this study is to use the detrital carbonate (DC) records in sediment cores from the Labrador Sea western margin to study the spatial variability of the carbonate events and inferred sources and routing of glacial meltwater originating from Hudson Strait (HS) as well as potential contributions from Northern Baffin Bay (NBB) ice sheet margins. We use DC in sediment cores as a proxy for glacial meltwater and ice berg drift from these areas. More than 15 sediment cores with published DC, stable oxygen isotope, and radiocarbon stratigraphies provide the data for this study. Marine sediment core MD99-2236 from Cartwright Saddle is used as a template for freshwater forcing from HS outlet. Our hypothesis is that the complex interplay of current systems, shelf and slope bathymetry and location of meltwater and ice berg injection points will affect the spatial distribution of the DC events. In addition, differences in local ocean reservoir age for shelf, slope and open ocean sites may also contribute to offsets in the apparent ages of DC events. Identification of DC peaks also is influenced by sedimentation rates and sampling resolution. Quantitative x-ray diffraction is applied to differentiate the carbonate provenance between HS (calcite dominated) and NBB (dolomite dominated). To objectively correlate DC events, we study mostly published core data, removing all earlier assumptions about marine reservoir age and assess all core chronologies with their associated errors. Our results so far show that none of the DC events is found in all sites and no record captures all of the DC events. Despite this, some of the larger events occur in several records and are found along the entire Labrador margin allowing robust temporal and spatial mapping of the meltwater pathways. The end product will be a temporal and spatial reconstruction of meltwater and ice berg routing from HS and NBB outlets to the western N. Atlantic and serve as a contribution to modeling studies of the effects of freshwater forcing on ocean circulation and climate.