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Diatom Evidence on Wisconsin and Holocene Events in the Bering Sea

  • Constance Sancetta (a1) and Stephen W. Robinson (a2)


Previous work on surface (modern) sediments has defined diatom species which appear to be good indicators of various oceanographic/ecologic conditions in the North Pacific Ocean and marginal seas. Three long cores from the eastern and northern sides of the Aleutian Basin show changes in species assemblage which can be interpreted in terms of changes in the ocean environment during the last glaciation (Wisconsin) and the Holocene. The early and late Wisconsin maxima were times of prolonged annual sea-ice cover and a short cool period of phytoplankton productivity during the ice-free season. The middle Wisconsin interstade, at least in the southern Bering Sea, had greater seasonal contrast than today, with some winter sea-ice cover, an intensified temperature minimum, and high spring productivity. Variations in clastic and reworked fossil material imply varying degrees of transport to the basin by Alaskan rivers. The results of Jousé from the central Bering Sea generally correspond with those presented here, although there are problems with direct comparison.



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