Sediment dispersal pattern in the Bay of Bengal - evidence for commencement of Bengal Fan sedimentation
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The sediment succession in the Bay of Bengal records signatures corresponding to India-Asia collision, regional climate, and erosional processes of the Himalayan orogeny and the Indian subcontinent. The Bengal Fan – world’s largest submarine fan - has been long studied to understand the link between the Himalayan tectonics and Asian monsoon climate, but early phase information of the Himalaya erosion is not retrieved from the Indian Ocean due to lack of deep-core samples. Therefore, the missing corresponding signals hampered the understanding of coupled processes between tectonics, climate and erosion. Seismic reflection profiles and industrial drill wells from the western Bay of Bengal show two different modes of sediment deposition: initially Indian peninsular rivers discharged sediments to the ocean at a rate ~20 m/m.y. until Oligocene-Miocene time (~23 Ma) with the exception of two fairly-enhanced sediment pulses from 65 to 54 and again from 34 to 23 Ma; since 23 Ma the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers added huge volumes of sediments to the bay with variable rates range from 40 to >1000 m/m.y. Using seismic stratigraphic technique we found a distinct increase in sediment discharge (~140 m/m.y.) at 23 Ma is an important age marker for the onset of Bengal Fan sedimentation as a coupled connection between the Himalayan tectonics and Asian climate. Further rise in sedimentation rate during the period 6.8 - 0.8 Ma is surprisingly not in agreement with the decrease in sediment rate reported at ODP Leg 116 sites in the distal Bengal Fan, but coincident with the change in monsoon intensity. Here we provide well constrained ages for the growth of the Bengal Fan, which can serve as benchmark for interactions between the Himalayan exhumation and Asian climate.