LATE PLIOCENE DEPOSITIONAL HISTORY AND PALEOCLIMATE RECONSTRUCTIONS OF THE SOUTHWEST PACIFIC
Southern Ocean geological records demonstrate that Late Pliocene cooling is the transient time bracketing the warmer than present Early Pliocene and bipolar glaciation at ~2.7 Ma. A newly developed, robust, and astronomically tuned long-term record of benthic δ13C from ODP Site 1123 spanning the Early to Late Pliocene implies a reduction in Southern Ocean ventilation and lowering of preformed values from waters sourced along the Antarctic margin during the Late Pliocene. Thus, Late Pliocene Southern Hemisphere cooling and sea ice expansion may have drastically reduced outgassing and increased the burial of heat into the deep ocean. South Atlantic records off the west coast of Africa demonstrate an increase in the flux of iron to the open ocean during this time potentially enhancing surface ocean productivity and providing an additional cooling mechanism.
Currently, atmospheric transport of dust to the Southern Ocean is dominated by persistent mid-latitude circumpolar westerly winds; this is particularly relevant for dust sourced from New Zealand. The Late Pliocene to Early Pleistocene uplift of the North Island axial ranges and South Island southern alps potentially provided a greater amount of not only sediment to the deep ocean, but also wind blow dust to the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. We will present a detailed high-resolution sedimentological study on the development of the Chatham Rise drift during the Late Pliocene in order to understand both the terrigenous flux rate of sediment into the southwest Pacific and changes in surface ocean productivity. Time series analysis on proxy data demonstrates a close coupling between orbital driven perturbations in climate and the depositional history of the Chatham Rise drift.