Evidence of early bottom water current flow after the Messinian Salinity Crisis in the Gulf of Cadiz.

van der Schee, Marlies, Sierro, F. J., Jiménez-Espejo, F. J., Hernández-Molina, F. J., Flecker, R., Flores, J. A., Acton, G., Gutjahr, Marcus , Grunert, P., García-Gallardo, Á. and Andersen, Nils (2016) Evidence of early bottom water current flow after the Messinian Salinity Crisis in the Gulf of Cadiz. Marine Geology, 380 . pp. 315-329. DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.04.005.

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• Stratigraphic framework over the Miocene-Pliocene boundary at IODP Site U1387.
• Abrupt sedimentary changes over the Miocene-Pliocene boundary.
• Clear hints for onset of Mediterranean Outflow after the Messinian Salinity Crisis.
• Evidence of bottom water currents in contouritic sedimentation and elevated Zr/Al.
• Quiet, hemipelagic sediment deposition during the Messinian in the Gulf of Cadiz.


Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 339 cored multiple sites in the Gulf of Cadiz in order to study contourite deposition resulting from Mediterranean Outflow water (MOW). One hole, U1387C, was cored to a depth of 865.6 meters below seafloor (mbsf) with the goal of recovering the Latest Miocene to Pliocene transition in order to evaluate the history of MOW immediately after the end of the Messinian Salinity Crisis. To understand this history, an accurate age model for the succession is needed, but is challenging to construct, because the Miocene-Pliocene boundary is not marked by a clear biostratigraphic event in the Atlantic and coring gaps occur within the recovered stratigraphic record. These limitations are overcome by combining a variety of chronostratigraphic datasets to construct an age-model that fits the currently available age indicators and demonstrates that coring in Hole U1387C did indeed recover the Miocene-Pliocene boundary at around 826 mbsf. This boundary is associated with a distinct and abrupt change in depositional environment. During the latest Messinian, hemipelagic sediments exhibiting precession-induced climate variability were deposited. These are overlain by Pliocene sediments deposited at a much higher sedimentation rate, with much higher and more variable XRF-scanning Zr/Al ratios than the underlying sediment, and that show evidence of winnowing, particle sorting and increasing grain size, which we interpret to be related to the increasing flow of MOW. Pliocene sedimentary cyclicity is clearly visible in both the benthic δ18O record and the Zr/Al data and is probably also precessionally controlled. Two contouritic bigradational sandy-beds are revealed above the third sedimentary cycle of the Pliocene. On the basis of these results, we conclude that sedimentation associated with weak Mediterranean-Atlantic exchange, began in the Gulf of Cadiz virtually at or shortly after the Miocene-Pliocene boundary.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/290201
Additional Information: WOS:000383938100023
Keywords: Miocene-Pliocene boundary; Gulf of Cadiz; IODP Expedition 339; Mediterranean Outflow Water; Messinian Salinity Crisis; Contourites
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.04.005
ISSN: 0025-3227
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 12:54
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:12
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/32053

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