Abstract

Broken Ridge, in the eastern Indian Ocean,is overlain by about 1,600 m of middle Cretaceous to Pleistocene tuffaceous and carbonate sediments that record the oceanographic history of southern hemisphere mid-to high-latitude regions. Prior to about 42 Ma, Broken Ridge formed the northern part of the broad Kerguelen-Broken Ridge Plateau. During the middle Eocene, this feature was split by the newly forming Southeast Indian Ocean Ridge; since then, Broken Ridge has drifted north from about 55° to 31°S.

The lower part of the sedimentary section is characterized by Turonian to Santonian tuffs that contain abundant glauconite and some carbonate. The tuffs record a large but apparently local volcanic input that characterized the central part of Broken Ridge into the early Tertiary. Maestrichtian shallow-water(several hundred to 1,000 m depth) limestones and cherts accumulated at some of the highest rates ever documented from the open ocean, 4 to 5 g (cm2 ̇ 103 yr)-1. A complete (with all biostratigraphic zones) Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary section was recovered from site 752. The first 1.5 m.y. of the Tertiary is characterized by an order-of-magnitude reduction in the flux of biogenic sediments, indicating a period of sharply reduced biological productivity at 55°S, following which the carbonate and silica sedimentation rates almost reach the previous high values of the latest Cretaceous. We recovered a complete section through the Paleocene that contains all major fossil groups and is more than 300 m thick, perhaps the best pelagic Paleocene section encountered in ocean drilling. About 42 Ma, Broken Ridge was uplifted 2,500 m in response to the intra-plateau rifting event; subsequent erosion and deposition has resulted in a prominent Eocene angular unconformity atop the ridge. An Oligocene disconformity characterized by a widespread pebble layer probably represents the 30 Ma sea-level fall. The Neogene pelagic ooze on Broken Ridge has been winnowed, and thus its grain size provides a direct physical record of the energy of the southern hemisphere drift current in the Indian Ocean for the past 30 m.y.

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