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Title: Expedition 387 Scientific Prospectus: Amazon Margin
International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 387 aims to recover sediments at two sites located in shallow water (~350 to 450 m) on the uppermost continental slope west of the Amazon Fan, northwest of the mouth of the Amazon River. These sediments were deposited in the upper part of the long-lived Foz do Amazonas Basin of the equatorial margin of Brazil. These two sites will recover a sedimentary sequence that spans much of the Cenozoic but with variable provenance and highly variable sedimentation rates. By virtue of their location, the Quaternary sediments will recover an abundance of terrigenous materials including pollen, organic matter, zircon grains, and clay minerals, allowing detailed reconstruction of the biodiversity, climate, and hydrology of the adjacent tropical South American continent. At the same time, an abundance of well-preserved marine microfossils and organic matter will allow accurate determination of the age and oceanographic conditions of the western equatorial Atlantic that partly forced the climate of the adjacent continent. However, our reconstructions of the spatial patterns of biodiversity and climate through time must be interpreted with the knowledge that the geometry of the watersheds that contributed water and sediment to the coastal Atlantic was itself rearranged through time. For more » example, a transcontinental proto-Amazon river did not likely reach the Atlantic until somewhere between 11 and 2 Ma, a date that we expect to more accurately determine from these new cores. Prior to that event, terrigenous sediments at our sites would have been derived from smaller coastal rivers draining watersheds limited to the eastern tropics of northeastern South America. The planned drill sites of Expedition 387 will be the marine complement to a transect of continental drill sites. Together, the marine and continental sites form the Trans-Amazon Drilling Project (TADP), a project that is partly funded by the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP). The TADP addresses fundamental questions about the Cenozoic climatic evolution of the Amazon region, the origins and evolution of the neotropical rain forest and its biodiversity, and the origins and rearrangements of the transcontinental Amazon River. Together, we expect that these IODP and ICDP projects will transform our understanding of Amazonian geological, climatic, biological, and paleoceanographic history. « less
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1326927
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10230030
Journal Name:
Scientific prospectus
Volume:
387
ISSN:
2332-1385
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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To test the hypothesis that WAIS collapses occurred during the Neogene and Quaternary and, if so, when and under which environmental conditions; 2. To obtain ice-proximal records of ice sheet dynamics in the Amundsen Sea that correlate with global records of ice-volume changes and proxy records for atmospheric and ocean temperatures; 3. To study the stability of a marine-based WAIS margin and how warm deep-water incursions control its position on the shelf; 4. To find evidence for earliest major grounded WAIS advances onto the middle and outer shelf; 5. To test the hypothesis that the first major WAIS growth was related to the uplift of the Marie Byrd Land dome. International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 379 completed two very successful drill sites on the continental rise of the Amundsen Sea. Site U1532 is located on a large sediment drift, now called Resolution Drift, and penetrated to 794 m with 90% recovery. We collected almost-continuous cores from the Pleistocene through the Pliocene and into the late Miocene. At Site U1533, we drilled 383 m (70% recovery) into the more condensed sequence at the lower flank of the same sediment drift. The cores of both sites contain unique records that will enable study of the cyclicity of ice sheet advance and retreat processes as well as bottom-water circulation and water mass changes. In particular, Site U1532 revealed a sequence of Pliocene sediments with an excellent paleomagnetic record for high-resolution climate change studies of the previously sparsely sampled Pacific sector of the West Antarctic margin. Despite the drilling success at these sites, the overall expedition experienced three unexpected difficulties that affected many of the scientific objectives: 1. The extensive sea ice on the continental shelf prevented us from drilling any of the proposed shelf sites. 2. The drill sites on the continental rise were in the path of numerous icebergs of various sizes that frequently forced us to pause drilling or leave the hole entirely as they approached the ship. The overall downtime caused by approaching icebergs was 50% of our time spent on site. 3. An unfortunate injury to a member of the ship's crew cut the expedition short by one week. Recovery of core on the continental rise at Sites U1532 and U1533 cannot be used to precisely indicate the position of ice or retreat of the ice sheet on the shelf. However, these sediments contained in the cores offer a range of clues about past WAIS extent and retreat. At Sites U1532 and U1533, coarse-grained sediments interpreted to be ice-rafted debris (IRD) were identified throughout all recovered time periods. A dominant feature of the cores is recorded by lithofacies cyclicity, which is interpreted to represent relatively warmer periods variably characterized by higher microfossil abundance, greater bioturbation, and higher counts of IRD alternating with colder periods characterized by dominantly gray laminated terrigenous muds. Initial comparison of these cycles to published records from the region suggests that the units interpreted as records of warmer time intervals in the core tie to interglacial periods and the units interpreted as deposits of colder periods tie to glacial periods. The cores from the two drill sites recovered sediments of purely terrigenous origin intercalated or mixed with pelagic or hemipelagic deposits. In particular, Site U1533, which is located near a deep-sea channel originating from the continental slope, contains graded sands and gravel transported downslope from the shelf to the abyssal plain. 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If detailed provenance studies confirm our preliminary assessment that the origin of these samples is from the plutonic bedrock of Marie Byrd Land, their thermochronological record will potentially reveal timing and rates of denudation and erosion linked to crustal uplift. The chronostratigraphy of both sites enables the generation of a seismic sequence stratigraphy not only for the Amundsen Sea rise but also for the western Amundsen Sea along the Marie Byrd Land margin through a connecting network of seismic lines.« less
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