The paleoceanography of the Bering Sea during the last glacial cycle
In this thesis, I present high-resolution stable-isotope and planktonic-fauna records from Bering Sea sediment cores, spanning the time period from 50,000 years ago to the present. During Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS3) at 30-20 ky BP (kiloyears before present) in a core from 1467m water depth near Umnak Plateau, there were episodic occurrences of diagenetic carbonate minerals with very low δ13C (-22:4h), high δ18O (6.5h), and high [Mg]/[Ca], which seem associated with sulfate reduction of organic matter and possibly anaerobic oxidation of methane. The episodes lasted less than 1000 years and were spaced about 1000 years apart. During MIS3 at 55-20 ky BP in a core from 2209m water depth on Bowers Ridge, N. pachyderma (s.) and Uvigerina δ18O and δ13C show no coherent variability on millennial time scales. Bering Sea sediments are dysoxic or laminated during the deglaciation. A high sedimentation rate core (200 cm/ky) from 1132m on the Bering Slope is laminated during the Bolling warm phase, Allerod warm phase, and early Holocene, where the ages of lithological transitions agree with the ages of those climate events in Greenland (GISP2) to well within the uncertainty of the age models. The subsurface distribution of radiocarbon was estimated from a compilation of published and unpublished North Pacific benthic-planktonic 14C measurements (475-2700 m water depth). There was no consistent change in 14C profiles between the present and the Last Glacial Maximum, Bolling-Allerod, or the Younger Dryas cold phase. N. pachyderma (s.) δ18O in the Bering Slope core decreases rapidly (in less than 220 y) by 0.7-0.8% at the onset of the Bolling and the end of the Younger Dryas. These isotopic shifts are accompanied by transient decreases in the relative abundance of N. pachyderma (s.), suggesting that the isotopic events are transient warmings and sustained freshenings.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution February, 2006
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