Abstract

Four sediment cores collected from the Northwind and Mendeleyev ridges, Arctic Ocean, from 1089 m to 1909 m water depth, provide an oceanographic record extending back into the Matuyama reversed polarity chron. Benthic foraminiferal analyses show four prominent assemblage zones: Bolivina arctica, Cassidulina teretis, Bulimina aculeata, and Oridorsalis tener from the upper Matuyama reversed polarity chronozone through the Brunhes normal polarity chronozone. These assemblage zones represent depth-dependent benthic foraminiferal biofacies changes associated with oceanographic events that occurred in the Amerasian basin at ∼780 and 300 ka, and indicate oceanographic influence from the North Atlantic. Recognition of these benthic assemblage zones in Arctic cores from the Alpha Ridge indicates that the benthic foraminiferal zonations in intermediate to deep water (>1000 m) Arctic cores may be more useful than preexisting lithostratigraphic zonations and should provide important information pertaining to the Quaternary paleoceanographic evolution of the Arctic Ocean.

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