Paleoceanographic significance of sediment color on western North Atlantic Drifts: II. Late Pliocene–Pleistocene sedimentation Academic Article uri icon


  • Color variations were interpreted in paleoceanographic terms for the late Pliocene-Pleistocene sediments recovered by ODP Leg 172 on deep-sea drifts at Blake-Bahama Outer Ridge and northeastern Bermuda Rise. The color-derived parameters used in interpretation included predicted carbonate content, terrigenous fluxes, and hematite content. Abundance of Upper Carboniferous spores indicates that the hematite is probably derived from the Permo-Carboniferous red beds of the Canadian Maritimes. In the last 800 kyr sedimentation pattern changes on the Blake-Bahama Outer Ridge were determined by the sediment delivery to the deep basin as well as circulation changes. Sediment delivery increased during glacials (especially during the last 500 kyr and particularly since Stage 6). A fundamental change in the thermolialine circulation occurred at about similar to 500 ka corresponding to the end of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition period at the onset of the predominant 100-kyr climate cyclicity. Sedimentation related to WBUC had intensified at that time and had become more focused at depths below 3000 in. Changes in hematite content and sedimentation rate show a pulse of sediment via the St. Lawrence outlet at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary suggesting that a likely change in the hydrography/physiography of the Laurentide Ice Sheet could have been involved in the climatic and ocean circulation changes at that time. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • September 2002