Faculté des sciences

Investigating the history of East Asian monsoon and climate during the last glacial–interglacial period (0–140 000 years) : mineralogy and geochemistry of ODP Sites 1143 and 1144, South China Sea

Tamburini, P. ; Adatte, Thierry ; Föllmi, Karl B. ; Bernasconi, Stefano M. ; Steinmann, P.

In: Marine Geology, 2003, vol. 201, p. 147-168

Monsoon climate is an important component of the global climatic system. A comprehensive understanding of its variability over glacial–interglacial time scales as well as of its effects on the continent and in the ocean is required to decipher links between climate, continental weathering and productivity. A detailed multiproxy study, including bulk and clay mineralogy, grain-size analysis,... Plus

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    Summary
    Monsoon climate is an important component of the global climatic system. A comprehensive understanding of its variability over glacial–interglacial time scales as well as of its effects on the continent and in the ocean is required to decipher links between climate, continental weathering and productivity. A detailed multiproxy study, including bulk and clay mineralogy, grain-size analysis, phosphorus geochemistry (SEDEX extraction), organic matter characterization, and nitrogen stable isotopes, was carried out on samples from ODP Sites 1143 and 1144 (Leg 184, South China Sea), covering the past 140 000 years. We tentatively reconstruct the complex sedimentation and climatic history of the region during the last glacial–interglacial cycle, when sea-level variations, linked to the growth and melting of ice caps, interact with monsoon variability. During interglacial periods of high sea level, summer monsoon was strong, and humid and warm climate characterized the adjacent continent and islands. Clay minerals bear signals of chemical weathering during these intervals. High calcite and reactive phosphorus mass accumulation rates (MARs) indicate high productivity, especially in the southern region of the basin. During glacial intervals, strong winter monsoon provided enhanced detrital input from the continent, as indicated by high detrital MAR. Glacial low sea level resulted in erosion of sediments from the exposed Sunda shelf to the south, and clay mineral variations indicate that warm and humid conditions still prevailed in the southern tropical areas. Enhanced supply of nutrients from the continent, both by river and eolian input, maintained high primary productivity. Reduced circulation during these periods possibly induced active remobilization of nutrients, such as phosphorus, from the sediments. Intense and short cold periods recorded during glacial and interglacial stages correlate with loess records in China and marine climatic records in the North Atlantic, confirming a teleconnection between low- and high-latitude climate variability.