Abstract

The clay-sized (< 2 μm) fraction of the silty and arenaceous lutites constituting CESAR cores 14 and 103 (Alpha Ridge, central Arctic Ocean) is composed predominantly of mica (40–60%), with subequal percentages (10–20%) of kaolinite and chlorite and lesser amounts (< 5%) of smectite, quartz, plagioclase, and potassium feldspar. Calcite and dolomite also occur, but only intermittently in the upper 1.2 m; dissolution is probably responsible for their absence in other units. The silty lutites have a constant mineralogy throughout the 4.5 m long (~ 4.25 Ma) section, whereas some of the arenaceous intervals in the upper 2.1 m have markedly higher amounts of kaolinite, calcite, dolomite, and, to a lesser extent, smectite. The silty lutites were most likely derived from the Beaufort Sea shelf during nonglacial periods, whereas the distinctive components in the sandy layers suggest that they were transported from the Canadian Arctic Islands and Greenland by glacial ice. The absence of kaolinite peaks in the lower half of the core implies that the western Arctic Islands were not glaciated prior to 2.1 Ma, a conclusion supporting previous findings that the climate of the Arctic was warmer in the Pliocene.

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