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Links between iron supply from Asian dust and marine productivity in the Japan Sea since four million years ago

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2019

Lina Zhai
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266071, China
Shiming Wan*
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266071, China Laboratory for Marine Geology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao266061, China CAS Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Xi’an710061, China
Ryuji Tada
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo113-0033, Japan
Debo Zhao
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266071, China
Xuefa Shi
Laboratory for Marine Geology, Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao266061, China Key Laboratory of Marine Sedimentology and Environmental Geology, First Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Qingdao266061, China
Xuebo Yin
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266071, China
Yang Tan
Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai264003, China
Anchun Li
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao266071, China
*Author for correspondence: Shiming Wan, Email:


Aeolian dust input exerts significant influence on oceanic biogeochemical cycles and further potentially controls atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, the possible link between long-term aeolian dust supply and primary productivity in the western North Pacific remains poorly understood. Here, we present a comprehensive study of major and trace elements and total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations of sediments from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1430 in the southern Japan Sea, in order to reconstruct oceanic palaeoproductivity evolution and test its possible link to Asian dust input since 4 Ma. Palaeoproductivity proxies indicate remarkable increases in productivity at ∼3–2 Ma followed by high-frequency oscillations in productivity since 1.2 Ma. We suggest that higher dust-derived iron supply from Central Asia at 3–2 Ma, which was likely driven by the growth of the Northern Hemisphere ice sheets, could account for enhanced primary productivity and export production in the Japan Sea. Such increased oceanic palaeoproductivity could enhance organic carbon burial, which might contribute to the decrease in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and provide a positive feedback to the global cooling. However, the Tsushima Warm Current (TSWC) intrusion via the southern Tsushima Strait, which was controlled by glacioeustatic sea level changes, has been the principal cause of the rapid changes in primary productivity and benthic redox condition since 1.2 Ma, regardless of continuously increased Asian dust input.

Original Article
© Cambridge University Press 2019

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