An attempt is made to understand the redox conditions that prevailed in the north eastern continental margins of the Arabian Sea and in the nearby deep water regions during the past few centuries using short undisturbed sediment cores. The geochronology is accomplished using210Pb excess method and the proxy indicators chosen for productivity and associated redox changes are CaCO3, organic matter (OM), Mn and U along with major elements Fe and Al. Such changes in principle are related to high productivity in the overlying waters which in turn depend on monsoonal intensity that causes upwelling responsible for increase in productivity. Alongwith the published data on gravity cores from the same region, our measurements suggest the following:
At ∼ 300 m water depth, south of 21°N, the sediment-water interface at depths of ∼ 300 m had been anoxic during the time span represented by the presently studied cores for approximately ∼ 700y as evidenced by low Mn/Al (< 0.7 × 10−2) and high U/Al (> 10−4) weight ratios. In some adjacent deeper regions, however, the environment turned oxic around ∼ 200 y BP. Whereas both Mn and Ra were lost to the overlying waters in the anoxic regions (depth ∼340m), the Mn that diffused from deeper sections appears to have mineralized at the sediment-water-interface. Studies of this type on long undisturbed cores from the margins of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, involving several proxies and geochronology by more than one method are needed to understand short term environmental (and monsoonal intensity) changes of the recent past with high resolution.
Volume 132, 2023
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