Plio-Pleistocene evolution of water mass exchange and erosional input at the Atlantic-Arctic gateway Public Deposited


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  • Water mass exchange between the Arctic Ocean and the Norwegian-Greenland Seas has played an important role for the Atlantic thermohaline circulation and Northern Hemisphere climate. We reconstruct past water mass mixing and erosional inputs from the radiogenic isotope compositions of neodymium (Nd), lead (Pb), and strontium (Sr) at Ocean Drilling Program site 911 (leg 151) from 906 m water depth on Yermak Plateau in the Fram Strait over the past 5.2 Myr. The isotopic compositions of past bottom waters were extracted from authigenic oxyhydroxide coatings of the bulk sediments. Neodymium isotope signatures obtained from surface sediments agree well with present-day deepwater ε[subscript]Nd signature of −11.0 ± 0.2. Prior to 2.7 Ma the Nd and Pb isotope compositions of the bottom waters only show small variations indicative of a consistent influence of Atlantic waters. Since the major intensification of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation at 2.7 Ma the seawater Nd isotope composition has varied more pronouncedly due to changes in weathering inputs related to the waxing and waning of the ice sheets on Svalbard, the Barents Sea, and the Eurasian shelf, due to changes in water mass exchange and due to the increasing supply of ice-rafted debris (IRD) originating from the Arctic Ocean. The seawater Pb isotope record also exhibits a higher short-term variability after 2.7 Ma, but there is also a trend toward more radiogenic values, which reflects a combination of changes in input sources and enhanced incongruent weathering inputs of Pb released from freshly eroded old continental rocks.
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  • Teschner, C., Frank, M., Haley, B. A., & Knies, J. (2016). Plio‐Pleistocene evolution of water mass exchange and erosional input at the Atlantic‐Arctic gateway. Paleoceanography, 31(5), 582-599. doi:10.1002/2015PA002843
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  • 31
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  • 5
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  • The German Research Foundation provided financial support of C. Teschner within the Priority Program 527 (HA 5938/1-1). J. Knies is supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, project 223259.
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