Age models, accumulation rates, and grain size distributions of sediment cores from the northern subtropical Atlantic, supplement to: Koopmann, B (1981): Sedimentation von Saharastaub im subtropischen Nordatlantik während der letzten 25.000 Jahre. Meteor Forschungsergebnisse, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Reihe C Geologie und Geophysik, Gebrüder Bornträger, Berlin, Stuttgart, C35, 23-59

The terrigenous sediment proportion of the deep sea sediments from off Northwest Africa has been studied in order to distinguish between the aeolian and the fluvial sediment supply. The present and fossil Saharan dust trajectories were recognized from the distribution patterns of the aeolian sediment. The following timeslices have been investigated: Present, 6,000, 12,000 and 18,000 y. B. P. Furthermore, the quantity of dust deposited off the Saharan coast has been estimated. For this purpose, 80 surface sediment samples and 34 sediment cores have been analysed. The stratigraphy of the cores has been achieved from oxygen isotopic curves, 14C-dating, foraminiferal transfer temperatures, and carbonate contents.Silt sized biogenic opal generally accounts for less than 2 % of the total insoluble sediment proportion. Only under productive upwelling waters and off river mouths, the opal proportion exceeds 2 % significantly.The modern terrigenous sediment from off the Saharan coast is generally characterized by intensely stained quartz grains. They indicate an origin from southern Saharan and Sahelian laterites, and a zonal aeolian transport in midtropospheric levels, between 1.5 an 5.5 km, by 'Harmattan' Winds. The dust particles follow large outbreaks of Saharan air across the African coast between 15° and 21° N. Their trajectories are centered at about 18° N and continue further into a clockwise gyre situated south of the Canary Islands. This course is indicated by a sickle-shaped tongue of coarser grain sizes in the deep-sea sediment. Such loess-sized terrigenous particles only settle within a zone extending to 700 km offshore. Fine silt and clay sized particles, with grain sizes smaller than 10- 15 µm, drift still further west and can be traced up to more than 4,000 km distance from their source areas.Additional terrigenous silt which is poor in stained quartz occurs within a narrow zone off the western Sahara between 20° and 27° N only. It depicts the present dust supply by the trade winds close to the surface.The dust load originates from the northwestern Sahara, the Atlas Mountains and coastal areas, which contain a particularly low amount of stained quartz. The distribution pattern of these pale quartz sediments reveals a SSW-dispersal of dust being consistent with the present trade wind direction from the NNE.In comparison to the sediments from off the Sahara and the deeper subtropical Atlantic, the sediments off river mouths, in particular off the Senegal river, are characterized by an additional input of fine grained terrigenous particles (< 6 µm). This is due to fluvial suspension load. The fluvial discharge leads to a relative excess of fine grained particles and is observed in a correlation diagram of the modal grain sizes of terrigenous silt with the proportion of fine fraction ( 6 µm) decrcase exponentially with increasing distance from the Saharan coast. Those of the terrigenous fine fraction (< 6 µm) follow the same trend and show almost similar gradients. Accordingly, also the terrigenous fine fraction is believed to result predominantly from aeolian transport.In the Atlantic deep-sea sediments, the annual terrigenous sediment accumulation has fluctuated, from about 60 million tons p. a. during the Late Glacial (13,500-18,000 y. B. P, aeolian supply only) to about 33 million tons p. a. during the Holocene Climatic Optimum (6,000-9,000 y. B. P, mainly fluvial supply), when the river supply has reached a maximum, and to about 45 million tons p. a. during the last 4,000 years B. P. (fluvial supply only south of 18° N).

Metadata Access
Creator Koopmann, B
Publisher PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
Publication Year 1981
Rights Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Supplementary Collection of Datasets
Format application/zip
Size 53 datasets
Discipline Earth System Research
Spatial Coverage (-50.350W, 0.167S, -9.408E, 33.850N); East Atlantic; Atlantic Ocean; North Atlantic Ocean; off NW Africa
Temporal Coverage Begin 1956-09-10T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 1979-01-01T00:00:00Z