Last glacial-Holocene paleoceanography of the Black Sea and Marmara Sea: Stable isotopic, foraminiferal and coccolith evidence

A. E. Aksu*, R. N. Hiscott, M. A. Kaminski, P. J. Mudie, H. Gillespie, Teofilo Abrajano, D. Yaşar

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    131 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Multi-proxy data and radiocarbon dates from several key cores from the Black Sea and Marmara Sea document a complex paleoceanographic history for the last ∼30 000 yr. The Marmara Sea was isolated from both the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea during glacial periods when global sea-level lowering subaerially exposed the shallow sills at the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles (i.e. lake stage), and reconnected through both straits during interglacial periods, when rise of global sea level breached the shallow sills (i.e. gateway stage). Micropaleontological data show that during the 'lake stage' the surface-water masses in both the Marmara Sea and Black Sea became notably brackish; however, during the 'gateway stages' there was a low-salinity surface layer and normal marine water mass beneath. Two sapropel layers are identified in the Marmara Sea cores: sapropels M2 and M1 were deposited between ∼29.5 and 23.5 ka, and ∼10.5 and 6.0 ka, respectively. Micropaleontological and stable isotopic data show that the surface-water salinities were reduced considerably during the deposition of both sapropel layers M2 and M1, and calculation using planktonic foraminiferal transfer functions shows that sea-surface temperatures were notably lower during these intervals. The presence of fauna and flora with Black Sea affinities and the absence of Mediterranean fauna and flora in sapropels M1 and M2 strongly suggest that communication existed with the Black Sea during these times. A benthic foraminiferal oxygen index shows that the onset of suboxic conditions in the Marmara Sea rapidly followed the establishment of fully marine conditions at ∼11-10.5 ka, and are attributed to Black Sea outflow into the Marmara Sea since 10.5 ka. These suboxic conditions have persisted to the present. The data discussed in this paper are completely at odds with the 'Flood Hypothesis' of Ryan et al. (1997), and Ryan and Pitman (1999). Crown

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)119-149
    Number of pages31
    JournalMarine Geology
    Volume190
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 15 2002

    Keywords

    • Black Sea
    • Marmara Sea
    • Sapropel
    • Sea-surface temperature and salinity
    • Stable isotopes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oceanography
    • Geology
    • Geochemistry and Petrology

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