Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Maiorano P., Aiello G., Barra D., Di Leo P., Joannin S., Lirer F., Marino M., Pappalardo A., Capotondi L., Ciaranfi N., Stefanelli S. Paleoenvironmental changes during sapropel 19 (i-cycle 90) deposition: Evidences from geochemical, mineralogical and micropaleontological proxies in the mid-Pleistocene Montalbano Jonico land section (southern Italy). In: Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 257 (3) pp. 308 - 334. Elsevier Science Bv, 2008.
An integrated micropaleontological, geochemical and mineralogical study has been performed across the mid-Pleistocene sapropel 19 (i-cycle 90) from the Montalbano Jonico land section (southern Italy), to reconstruct the paleoenvironmental conditions at time of its formation. The sapropel interval is characterized by two oxygen depletion phases (phase A and C) interrupted by a temporary re-oxygenation interval (phase B). The beginning and the end of sapropel deposition are dated at 957 ± 0.81 kyr and 950 ±0.86 kyr respectively. The duration of the interruption is estimated to 0.350 ± 0.32 kyr. The multiproxy approach highlights that deposition of sapropel 19 reflects a period of enhanced freshwater runoff induced by a wetter climate. As a consequence of a more efficient fluvial erosion, a higher terrigenous input, mostly ascribable to a southern Apennines source, and an increased turbidity of surface waters accompanied most of sapropel deposition. Biotic and abiotic proxies document that different paleoenvironmental conditions occur through phases A–C. The beginning of phase A is characterized by warm on-land paleoclimate as well as warm and oligotrophic surface water conditions. During the upper part of phase A temperature starts decreasing and surface waters appear more productive. This change probably represents the prelude to cooler and drier conditions characterizing phase B, which displays a river supply reduction and an eolian input increase (Sahara dust). During phase C the restored depleted oxygen environment at the bottom sediments is clearly coupled with the re-establishment of humid conditions and increased river supply. At the same time, enhanced mixing of water column, a cooler paleoclimate, and increased productivity of surface waters are recorded, the latter likely favored by the enhanced mixing of water column and also increased delivery of land-derived nutrients. The end of phase C is marked by a restored “normal” run-off. Enhanced productivity in surface waters and low oxygen conditions at the bottom sediments persist slightly above phase C. The overall results suggest that the onset of sapropel deposition is related to water stratification that caused low oxygen exchanges with the sea-bottom. Although enhanced productivity characterizes most of the sapropel deposition it was not the primary factor triggering sapropel deposition.
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2007.10.025
Subject sapropel 19
southern Italy
geochemistry and mineralogy

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