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  1. null (Ed.)
    The tectonic and paleoceanographic setting of the Great Australian Bight (GAB) and the Mentelle Basin (adjacent to Naturaliste Plateau) offered an opportunity to investigate Cretaceous and Cenozoic climate change and ocean dynamics during the last phase of breakup among remnant Gondwana continents. Sediment recovered from sites in both regions during International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 369 will provide a new perspective on Earth’s temperature variation at subpolar latitudes (60°–62°S) across the extremes of the mid-Cretaceous hot greenhouse climate and the cooling that followed. Basalts and prebreakup sediments were also recovered and will provide constraints regarding the type and age of the Mentelle Basin basement and processes operating during the break up of Gondwana. The primary goals of the expedition were to 1. Investigate the timing and causes for the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hot greenhouse climate and how this climate mode affected the climate–ocean system and oceanic biota; 2. Determine the relative roles of productivity, ocean temperature, and ocean circulation at high southern latitudes during Cretaceous oceanic anoxic events (OAEs); 3. Investigate potential source regions for deep-water and intermediate-water masses in the southeast Indian Ocean and how these changed during Gondwana breakup; 4. Characterize how oceanographic conditions at the Mentelle Basin changed during the Cenozoic opening of the Tasman Gateway and restriction of the Indonesian Gateway; and 5. Resolve questions on the volcanic and sedimentary origins of the Australo-Antarctic Gulf and Mentelle Basin and provide stratigraphic control on the age and nature of the prebreakup successions. Hole U1512A in the GAB recovered a 691 m thick sequence of black claystone ranging from the lower Turonian to the lower Campanian. Age control is primarily based on calcareous nannofossils, but the presence of other microfossil groups provided consistent low-resolution control. Despite the lithologic uniformity, long- and short-term variations in natural gamma radiation and magnetic susceptibility show cyclic alternations that suggest an orbital control of sediment deposition, which will be useful for developing an astrochronology for the sequence. Sites U1513, U1514, U1515, and U1516 were drilled in water depths between 850 and 3900 m in the Mentelle Basin and penetrated 774, 517, 517, and 542 meters below seafloor, respectively. Under a thin layer of Pleistocene to upper Miocene sediment, Site U1513 cored a succession of Cretaceous units from the Campanian to the Valanginian, as well as a succession of basalts. Site U1514 sampled an expanded Pleistocene to Eocene sequence and terminated in the upper Albian. The Cenomanian to Turonian interval at Site U1514 is represented by deformed sedimentary rocks that probably represent a detachment zone. Site U1515 is located on the west Australian margin at 850 m water depth and was the most challenging site to core because much of the upper 350 m was either chert or poorly consolidated sand. However, the prebreakup Jurassic(?) sediments interpreted from the seismic profiles were successfully recovered. Site U1516 cored an expanded Pleistocene, Neogene, and Paleogene section and recovered a complete Cenomanian/Turonian boundary interval containing five layers with high organic carbon content. Study of the well-preserved calcareous microfossil assemblages from different paleodepths will enable generation of paleotemperature and biotic records that span the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hot greenhouse (including OAEs 1d and 2), providing insight to resultant changes in deep-water and surface water circulation that can be used to test predictions from earth system models. Measurements of paleotemperature proxies and other data will reveal the timing, magnitude, and duration of peak hothouse conditions and any cold snaps that could have allowed growth of a polar ice sheet. The sites contain a record of the mid-Eocene to early Oligocene opening of the Tasman Gateway and the Miocene to Pliocene restriction of the Indonesian Gateway; both passages have important effects on global oceanography and climate. Advancing understanding of the paleoceanographic changes in a regional context will provide a global test on models of Cenomanian to Turonian oceanographic and climatic evolution related both to extreme Turonian warmth and the evolution of OAE 2. The Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks and underlying Jurassic(?) sediments cored in different parts of the Mentelle Basin provide information on the timing of different stages of the Gondwana breakup. The recovered cores provide sufficient new age constraints to underpin a reevaluation of the basin-wide seismic stratigraphy and tectonic models for the region. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    The tectonic and paleoceanographic setting of the Great Australian Bight (GAB) and the Mentelle Basin (MB; adjacent to Naturaliste Plateau) offered an outstanding opportunity to investigate Cretaceous and Cenozoic climate change and ocean dynamics during the last phase of breakup among remnant Gondwana continents. Sediment recovered from sites in both regions during International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 369 will provide a new perspective on Earth’s temperature variation at sub-polar latitudes (60°–62°S) across the extremes of the mid-Cretaceous hot greenhouse climate and the cooling that followed. The primary goals of the expedition were to • Investigate the timing and causes for the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hot greenhouse climate and how this climate mode affected the climate-ocean system and oceanic biota; • Determine the relative roles of productivity, ocean temperature, and ocean circulation at high southern latitudes during Cretaceous oceanic anoxic events (OAEs); • Identify the main source regions for deep-water and intermediate-water masses in the southeast Indian Ocean and how these changed during Gondwana breakup; • Characterize how oceanographic conditions at the MB changed during the Cenozoic opening of the Tasman Passage and restriction of the Indonesian Gateway; • Resolve questions on the volcanic and sedimentary origins of the Australo-Antarctic Gulf and Mentelle Basin and provide stratigraphic control on the age and nature of the prebreakup successions. Hole U1512A in the GAB recovered a 691 m thick sequence of black claystone ranging from the early Turonian to the early Campanian. Age control is primarily based on calcareous nannofossils, but the presence of other microfossil groups provided consistent but low-resolution control. Despite the lithologic uniformity, long- and short-term variations in natural gamma ray and magnetic susceptibility intensities show cyclic alternations that suggest an orbital control of sediment deposition that will be useful for developing an astrochronology for the sequence. Sites U1513–U1516 were drilled between 850 and 3900 m water depth in the MB and penetrated 774, 517, 517, and 542 meters below seafloor (mbsf), respectively. Under a thin layer of Pleistocene–upper Miocene sediment, Site U1513 cored a succession of Cretaceous units from the Campanian to the Valanginian. Site U1514 sampled an expanded Pleistocene–Eocene sequence and terminated in the upper Albian. The Cenomanian–Turonian interval at Site U1514 recovered deformed sedimentary rocks that probably represent a detachment zone. Site U1515 is located on the west Australian margin at 850 m water depth and was the most challenging site to core because much of the upper 350 m was either chert or poorly consolidated sand. However, the prebreakup Jurassic(?) sediments interpreted from the seismic profiles were successfully recovered. Site U1516 cored an expanded Pleistocene, Neogene, and Paleogene section and recovered a complete Cenomanian/Turonian boundary interval containing five layers with high total organic carbon content. Recovery of well-preserved calcareous microfossil assemblages from different paleodepths will enable generation of paleotemperature and biotic records that span the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hot greenhouse (including OAEs 1d and 2), providing insight to resultant changes in deep-water and surface water circulation that can be used to test predictions from earth system models. Paleotemperature proxies and other data will reveal the timing, magnitude, and duration of peak hothouse temperatures and any cold snaps that could have allowed growth of a polar ice sheet. The sites will also record the mid-Eocene–early Oligocene opening of the Tasman Gateway and the Miocene–Pliocene restriction of the Indonesian Gateway; both passages have important effects on global oceanography and climate. Understanding the paleoceanographic changes in a regional context provides a global test on models of Cenomanian–Turonian oceanographic and climatic evolution related both to extreme Turonian warmth and the evolution of OAE 2. The Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks and underlying Jurassic(?) sediments cored in different parts of the MB provide information on the timing of different stages of the Gondwana breakup. The recovered cores provide sufficient new age constraints to underpin a reevaluation of the basin-wide seismic stratigraphy and tectonic models for the region. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    The unique tectonic and paleoceanographic setting of the Naturaliste Plateau (NP) and Mentelle Basin (MB) offers an outstanding opportunity to investigate a range of scientific issues of global importance with particular relevance to climate change. Previous spot-core drilling at Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 258 in the western MB demonstrates the presence of an expanded upper Albian–lower Campanian chalk, marl, and claystone sequence that is nearly complete stratigraphically and yields calcareous microfossils that are mostly well preserved. This sediment package and the underlying Albian volcanic claystone unit extend across most of the MB and are targeted at the primary sites, located between 850 and 3900 m water depth. Coring the Cretaceous MB sequence at different paleodepths will allow recovery of material suitable for generating paleotemperature and biotic records that span the rise and collapse of the Cretaceous hothouse (including oceanic anoxic Events [OAEs] 1d and 2), providing insight to resultant changes in deep-water and surface water circulation that can be used to test predictions from earth system models. The high-paleolatitude (60°–62°S) location of the sites is especially important because of the enhanced sensitivity to changes in vertical gradients and surface water temperatures. Paleotemperature proxies and other data will reveal the timing, magnitude, and duration of peak hothouse temperatures and whether there were any cold snaps that would have allowed growth of a polar ice sheet. The sites are also well-positioned to monitor the mid-Eocene–early Oligocene opening of the Tasman Gateway and the Miocene–Pliocene restriction of the Indonesian Gateway; both passages have important effects on global oceanography and climate. Comparison of the Cenomanian–Turonian OAE 2 interval that will be cored on the Great Australian Bight will establish whether significant changes in ocean circulation were coincident with OAE 2, and over what depth ranges, and whether OAE 2 in the high-latitude Southern Hemisphere was coincident with major changes in sea-surface temperature. Understanding the paleoceanographic changes in a regional context will provide a global test on models of Cenomanian–Turonian oceanographic and climatic evolution related both to extreme Turonian warmth and the evolution of OAE 2. Drilling of Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks and underlying Jurassic(?) sediments in different parts of the MB will provide information on the timing of different stages of the Gondwana breakup and the nature of the various phases of volcanism, which will lead to an improved understanding of the evolution of the NP and MB. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    The Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) is a critical part of the global thermohaline conveyor. It plays a key role in transporting heat from the equatorial Pacific (the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool) to the Indian Ocean and exerts a major control on global climate. The complex tectonic history of the Indonesian Archipelago, a result of continued northward motion and impingement of the Australasian Plate into the Southeast Asian part of the Eurasian Plate, makes it difficult to reconstruct long-term (i.e., million year) ITF history from sites within the archipelago. The best areas to investigate ITF history are downstream in the Indian Ocean, either in the deep ocean away from strong tectonic deformation or along proximal passive margins that are directly under the influence of the ITF. Although previous Ocean Drilling Program and Deep Sea Drilling Project deepwater cores recovered in the Indian Ocean have been used to chart Indo-Pacific Warm Pool influence and, by proxy, ITF variability, these sections lack direct biogeographic and sedimentological evidence of the ITF. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 356 will drill a transect of cores over 10° latitude on the northwest shelf (NWS) of Australia to obtain a 5 m.y. record of ITF, Indo-Pacific Warm Pool, and climate evolution that has the potential to match orbital-scale deep-sea records in its resolution. Coring the NWS will reveal a detailed shallow-water history of ITF variability and its relationship to climate. It will allow us to understand the history of the Australian monsoon and its variability, a system whose genesis is thought to be related to the initiation of the East Asian monsoon and is hypothesized to have been in place since the Pliocene or earlier. It also will lead to a better understanding of the nature and timing of the development of aridity on the Australian continent. Detailed paleobathymetric and stratigraphic data from the transect will also allow subsidence curves to be constructed to constrain the spatial and temporal patterns of vertical motions caused by the interaction between plate motion and convection within the Earth’s mantle, known as dynamic topography. The NWS is an ideal location to study this phenomenon because it is positioned on the fastest moving continent since the Eocene, on the edge of the degree two geoid anomaly. Accurate subsidence analyses over 10° of latitude can resolve whether northern Australia is moving with/over a time-transient or long-term stationary downwelling within the mantle, thereby vastly improving our understanding of deep-Earth dynamics and their impact on surficial processes. 
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