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Dust, volcanic ash, and the evolution of the South Pacific Gyre through the Cenozoic Public Deposited

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  • We examine the 0–100 Ma paleoceanographic record retained in pelagic clay from the South Pacific Gyre (SPG) by analyzing 47 major, trace, and rare earth elements in bulk sediment in 206 samples from seven sites drilled during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 329. We use multivariate statistical analyses (Q-mode factor analysis and multiple linear regression) of the geochemical data to construct a model of bulk pelagic clay composition and mass accumulation rates (MAR) of six end-members, (post-Archean average Australian shale, rhyolite, basalt, Fe-Mn-oxyhydroxides, apatite, and excess Si). Integrating the results with Co-based age models at Sites U1365, U1366, U1369, and U1370, we link changes in MAR of these components to global oceanographic, terrestrial, and climatic transformations through the Cenozoic. Our results track the spatial extent (thousands of kilometers) of dust deposition in the SPG during the aridification of Australia. Dispersed ash is a significant component of the pelagic clay, often comprising >50% by mass, and records episodes of Southern Hemisphere volcanism. Because both are transported by wind, the correlation of dust and ash MAR depends on the site's latitude and suggests meridional shifts in the position of atmospheric circulation cells. The hydrothermal MARs provide evidence for rapid deposition from the Osbourn Trough spreading ridge before it went extinct. Excess Si MARs show that the abrupt increase in siliceous productivity observed at Site U1371 also extended at least as far north as Sites U1369 and U1370, suggesting large-scale reorganizations of oceanic Si distributions ~10–8 Ma in the southern SPG
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  • Dunlea, A. G., Murray, R. W., Sauvage, J., Spivack, A. J., Harris, R. N., & D'Hondt, S. (2015). Dust, volcanic ash, and the evolution of the South Pacific Gyre through the Cenozoic. Paleoceanography, 30(8), 1078-1099. doi:10.1002/2015PA002829
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  • 30
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  • 8
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  • Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation to R.W.M. (NSF OCE1130531) as well as S.D. and A.J.S. (NSF OCE1130735).
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