2020 Vol. 40, No. 3
Article Contents

Zhang Na, Dang Haowen, Jian Zhimin. Mid- to Late-Pleistocene orbital-scale changes in the upper-ocean structure of the northern South China Sea: Planktonic foraminiferal oxygen and carbon stable isotope records of IODP Site U1501[J]. Quaternary Sciences, 2020, 40(3): 605-615. doi: 10.11928/j.issn.1001-7410.2020.03.02
Citation: Zhang Na, Dang Haowen, Jian Zhimin. Mid- to Late-Pleistocene orbital-scale changes in the upper-ocean structure of the northern South China Sea: Planktonic foraminiferal oxygen and carbon stable isotope records of IODP Site U1501[J]. Quaternary Sciences, 2020, 40(3): 605-615. doi: 10.11928/j.issn.1001-7410.2020.03.02

Mid- to Late-Pleistocene orbital-scale changes in the upper-ocean structure of the northern South China Sea: Planktonic foraminiferal oxygen and carbon stable isotope records of IODP Site U1501

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  • After the mid-Pleistocene Transition(MPT)and the mid-Brunhes Event(MBE), the Late Quaternary glacial cycle with a powerful ca.100-ka cycle was finally established. Tropical forcing involving the global carbon reservoir, sea surface and thermocline temperature changes in the tropical Pacific has been proposed to have a significant impact on global climate change. However, studies about the changes in the thermocline of the northern South China Sea(SCS), especially that of the MBE, are relatively short, not to mention that there still lacks any in-depth exploration that links the monsoon evolution and the upper-ocean dynamics. Here we analyze the oxygen and carbon stable isotopes of surface-dwelling and subsurface dwelling planktonic foraminifera, Globigerinoides ruber and Pulleniatina obliquiloculata, respectively, from the sediment records of Site U1501 (18°53.09'N, 115°45.95'E; 2846 m depth)drilled by the International Ocean Discovery Program(IODP)Expedition 368. In this work, we analyzed a total of 230 samples from the depth range of 0~46 m at Hole U1501C. The age model, covering the last 1.5 Ma, was established by comparing the planktonic foraminiferal δ18O record of U1501 with the LR04 stack and the planktonic δ18O of ODP1146. Using the stable isotopes of the two planktonic foraminifera, the Middle- to Late-Pleistocene orbital-scale variations in the upper-water structure of the northern SCS was reconstructed. The results show that the peak glacial values of both the surface and subsurface δ18O gradually became heavier after 0.9 Ma and 0.4 Ma, accompanying with an increase in their glacial-interglacial ranges, while their difference indicates that the upper-water temperature gradient decreased at around 0.9 Ma and 0.6 Ma. These trends consistently suggest a response of the northern SCS upper-ocean to the expansion of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheet and the enhancement of the East Asian winter monsoon. During the MPT, changes in glacials were stronger than those in interglacials, and the subsurface seawater temperature decreased more significantly than the surface. During the MBE period, the surface seawater became colder and the subsurface water remained relatively stable. After MBE, both the surface and subsurface δ18O fluctuate more strongly on the glacial-interglacial cycle, and the surface seawater became significantly warmer during the interglacial periods while the subsurface seawater became colder during the glacial period. In MIS 13, an important interglacial just before MBE, the relatively more positive surface δ18O in U1501C reflects a relatively cold interglacial, which is apparently contrary to the warm and wet conditions recorded in Chinese Loess Plateau, and thus indicating a reduced latitudinal gradient over the East Asia during MIS 13. The synchronous heavier δ13C of the two planktonic foraminifera at ca. 0.5 Ma(δ13Cmax-Ⅱ)in Site U1501 suggests that the carbon isotope maximum events(δ13Cmax)may be related to an increased land reservoir of 12C due to enhanced summer monsoon, or a change in the ratio between oceanic organic/inorganic carbon pools due to increased terrigenous nutrient input. The greatly decreased surface-subsurface δ13C gradient in the U1501C records may suggest an enhancement of upper-ocean mixing in the northern South China Sea during δ13Cmax-Ⅱ.

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