Plio-Pleistocene trends in ice rafted debris on the Lomonosov Ridge

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Although more than 700 sediment cores exist from the Arctic Ocean, the Plio-Pleistocene evolution of the basin and its marginal seas remains virtually unknown. This is largely due the shallow penetration of most of these records, and difficulties associated with deriving chronologies for the recovered material. The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's (IODP) Expedition 302 (Arctic Coring Expedition, ACEX) recovered 197. m of Neogene/Quaternary sediment from the circumpolar regions of the Lomonosov Ridge. As detailed analyses of this material emerge, research is beginning to formulate a long-term picture of paleoceanographic changes in the central Arctic Ocean. This paper reviews the ACEX Plio-Pleistocene age model, identifies uncertainties, and addresses ways in which these may be eliminated. Within the established stratigraphic framework, a notable reduction in the abundance of ice rafted debris (IRD) occurs in the early part of the Pleistocene and persists until Marine Isotope Stage 6 (MIS 6). Therefore, while global oceanographic proxies indicate the gradual growth of terrestrial ice-sheets during this time, IRD delivery to the central Arctic Ocean remained comparatively low and stable. Within the resolution of existing data, the Pleistocene reduction in IRD is synchronous with predicted changes in both the inflow of North Atlantic and Pacific waters, which in modern times are known to exert a strong influence on sea ice stability. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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Quaternary International