Reconstruction of Oceanographic Changes Based on the Diatom Records of the Central Okhotsk Sea over the last 500000 Years

Abstract

This study provides insight into changes in sea ice conditions and the oceanographic environment over the past 500 kyr through analysis of the diatom record. Based on the relative abundance of 13 diatoms species in piston core MD012414, four types of environmental conditions in the central Okhotsk Sea over the last 330 ka BP have been distinguished: (1) open-ocean alternating with seasonal sea-ice cover in Stages 9, 5, and 1; (2) almost open-ocean free of sea-ice cover in Stages 7 and 3; (3) perennial sea-ice cover in Stages 6, 4, and 2; and (4) a warm ice-age dominated by open ocean assemblages in Stage 8. The littoral diatom species, Paralia sulcata, showed a sudden increase from the glacial period to the nterglacial period over the last 330 ka BP, except during Stage 8. Such a result implies that melting sea-ice transported terrigenous materials from the north Okhotsk Sea continental shelves to the central ocean during eglaciation. From Stage 13 to Stage 10, however, cold and warm marine conditions unexpectedly occurred in the late interglacial periods and the glacial periods, respectively. One possible reason for this is a lack of age control points from Stage 13 to Stage 10, and the different sediment accumulation rates between glacial and interglacial periods. This study suggests not only the process by which oceanographic variation of sea ice occurred, but also new significance for Paralia sulcata as an indicator in the diatom record of the Okhotsk Sea.

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