Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-2pzkn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-30T01:21:00.470Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Variations in δ13C values of sedimentary organic matter since late Miocene time in the Indus Fan (IODP Site 1457) of the eastern Arabian Sea

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 January 2019

Boo-Keun Khim*
Department of Oceanography, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Korea
Jongmin Lee
Department of Oceanography, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Korea
Sanbeom Ha
Department of Oceanography, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Korea
Jingu Park
Department of Oceanography, Pusan National University, Busan, 46241, Korea
Dhananjai K. Pandey
Department of Marine Geophysics, National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa, 403804, India
Peter D. Clift
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803, USA
Denise K. Kulhanek
International Ocean Discovery Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, 77845, USA
Stephan Steinke
Department of Geological Oceanography, Xiamen University, Xiamen, 361102, China
Elizabeth M. Griffith
School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA
Kenta Suzuki
Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0810, Japan
Zhaokai Xu
Key Laboratory of Marine Geology and Environment, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, 266071, China


A 1108.6 m long core was recovered at Site U1457 located on the Indus Fan in the Laxmi Basin of the eastern Arabian Sea during IODP Expedition 355. Shipboard examinations defined five lithologic units (I to V) of the lower Paleocene to Holocene sedimentary sequence. In this study, δ13C values of sedimentary organic matter (SOM) confirm the differentiation of the lithologic units and further divide units III and IV into two subunits (1 and 2). Based on the underlying assumption that the SOM is decided primarily by a mixture of marine and terrestrial origins, δ13CSOM values at Site U1457 provide information on the terrestrial catchment conditions since late Miocene time. Low δ13CSOM values from late Miocene to late Pleistocene times are similar (c. −22.0 ‰) for the most part, reflecting a consistent contribution of terrestrial organic matter from the catchment areas characterized by dominant C3 land plants. Significantly lower δ13CSOM values (c. −24.0 ‰) in Unit III-2 (∼8 to ∼7 Ma) might be due to a greater input of C3 terrestrial organic matter. The increase in δ13CSOM values at ∼7 Ma and the appearance of high δ13CSOM values (c. −18.0 ‰) within Unit III-1 (∼7 to ∼2 Ma) indicate that C4 biomass overwhelmed the terrestrial catchment environment as a result of enhanced terrestrial aridity in the Himalayan foreland. The three-end-member simple mixing model, estimating the relative contributions of SOM from terrestrial C3 and C4 plants and marine phytoplankton, supports our interpretation of the distribution of C3 and C4 land plants in the terrestrial catchment environment.

Original Article
© Cambridge University Press 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



A comprehensive list of consortium members appears at the end of the paper.


Agnihotri, R, Bhattacharya, SK, Sarin, MM and Somayajulu, BLK (2003) Changes in surface productivity and subsurface denitrification during the Holocene: a multiproxy study from the eastern Arabian Sea. The Holocene 13, 701–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
An, Z, Kutzbach, JE, Prell, WL and Porter, SC (2001) Evolution of Asian monsoons and phased uplift of the Himalaya-Tibetan plateau since Late Miocene times. Nature 411, 62–6.Google Scholar
Azharuddin, S, Govil, P, Singh, AD, Mishra, R, Agrawal, S, Tiwari, AK and Kumar, K (2017) Monsoon-influenced variations in productivity and lithogenic flux along offshore Saurashtra, NE Arabian Sea during the Holocene and Younger Dryas: a multi-proxy approach. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 483, 136–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Banakar, VK, Oba, T, Chodankar, AR, Kuramoto, T, Yamamoto, M and Minagawa, M (2005) Monsoon related changes in sea surface productivity and water column denitrification in the eastern Arabian Sea during the last glacial cycle. Marine Geology 219, 99108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boos, WR and Kuang, Z (2010) Sensitivity of the South Asian monsoon to elevated and non-elevated heating. Scientific Reports 3, 1192, doi: 10.1028/srep01192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bourget, J, Zaragosi, S, Rodriguez, M, Fournier, M, Garlan, T and Chamot-Rooke, N (2013) Late Quaternary megaturbidites of the Indus Fan: origin and stratigraphic significance. Marine Geology 336, 1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burbank, DW, Derry, LA and France-Lanord, C (1993) Reduced Himalayan sediment production 8 Myr ago despite an intensified monsoon. Nature 364, 4850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calvert, SE, Pedersen, TF, Naidu, PD and von Stackelberg, U (1995) On the organic carbon maximum on the continental slope of the eastern Arabian Sea. Journal of Marine Research 53, 269–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Calvès, G, Huuse, M, Clift, PD and Brusset, S (2015) Giant fossil mass wasting off the coast of West India: the Nataraja submarine slide. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 432, 265–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cerling, TE, Harris, JM, MacFadden, BJ, Leakey, MG, Quade, J, Eisenmann, V and Ehleringer, JR (1997) Global vegetation change through the Miocene/Pliocene boundary. Nature 389, 153–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clift, P, Gaedicke, C, Edwards, R, Lee, JIHildebrand, PAmjad, SWhite, RS and Schlüter, H-U (2002) The stratigraphic evolution of the Indus Fan and the history of sedimentation in the Arabian Sea. Marine Geophysical Researches 23, 223–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clift, PD, Shimizu, N, Layne, G, Blusztajn, J, Gaedicke, C, Schlüter, H-U, Clark, M and Amjad, S (2001) Development of the Indus Fan and its significance for the erosional history of the Western Himalaya and Karakoram. Geological Society of America Bulletin 113, 1039–51.2.0.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Collatz, GJ, Berry, JA and Clark, JS (1998) Effects of climate and atmospheric CO2 partial pressure on the global distribution of C4 grasses: present, past, and future. Oecologia 114, 441–54.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cowie, G, Mowbray, S, Kurian, S, Sarkar, A, White, C, Anderson, A, Bergnaud, B, Johnstone, G, Brear, S, Woulds, C, Naqvi, SWA and Kitazato, H (2014) Comparative organic geochemistry of Indian margin (Arabian Sea) sediments: estuary to continental slope. Biogeosciences 11, 6683–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Edwards, GE and Walker, DA (eds.) (1983) C3, C4: Mechanisms, and Cellular and Environmental Regulation of Photosynthesis. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific, 552 pp.Google Scholar
Fontugne, MR and Duplessy, JC (1986) Variations of the monsoon regime during the Upper Quaternary: evidence from carbon isotopic record of organic matter in North Indian Ocean sediment cores. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 56, 6988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
France-Lanord, C and Derry, LA (1994) δ13C of organic carbon in the Bengal Fan: source evolution and transport of C3 and C4 plant carbon to marine sediments. Geochemical et Cosmochimica Acta 58, 4809–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fry, B and Sherr, EB (1984) δ13C measurements as indicators of carbon flow in marine and flow ecosystems. Contributions in Marine Science 27, 1347.Google Scholar
Herbert, TD, Lawrence, KT, Tzanova, A, Peterson, LC, Caballero-Gill, R and Keely, CS (2016) Late Miocene global cooling and the rise of modern ecosystems. Nature Geoscience 9, 843–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huang, Y, Clemens, SC, Liu, W, Wang, Y and Prell, WL (2007) Large-scale hydrological change drove the late Miocene C4 plant expansion in the Himalayan foreland and Arabian Peninsula. Geology 35, 531–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krishna, MS, Naidu, SA, Subbaiah, CHV, Sarma, VVSS and Reddy, RPC (2013) Distribution and sources of organic matter in surface sediments of the eastern continental margin of India. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeoscience 118, 1489–94.Google Scholar
Kroon, D, Steens, T and Troelstra, SR (1991) Onset of monsoonal related upwelling in the western Arabian Sea as revealed by planktonic foraminifers. In Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, vol. 117 (eds Prell, WL, Niitsuma, N, Emeis, K-C, Al-Sulaiman, ZK, Al-Tobbah, ANK, Anderson, DM, Barnes, RO, Bilak, RA, Bloemendal, J, Bray, CJ, Busch, WH, Clemens, SC, de Menocal, P, Debrabant, P, Hayashida, A, Hermelin, JOR, Jarrad, RD, Krissek, LA, Kroon, D, Murray, DW, Nigrini, CA, Pedersen, TF, Ricken, W, Shimmield, GB, Spaulding, SA, Takayama, T, ten Haven, HL and Weedon, GP), pp. 257–63. College Station, Texas.Google Scholar
Liddy, H, Feakins, S, Clift, PD, Tauxe, L, Kulhanek, DK, Scardia, G, Warny, S, Bendle, JA, Galy, V, Zhou, P and Expedition 355 Science Party (2016) Late Miocene hydrological change in the Indus River catchment. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2016, Abstract, PP42A-01.Google Scholar
Maya, MV, Soares, MA, Agnihotri, R, Pratihary, AK, Karapurkar, S, Naik, H and Naqvi, SWA (2011) Variations in some environmental characteristics including C and N stable isotopic composition of suspended organic matter in the Mandovi estuary. Environmental Monitoring Assessment 175, 501–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mayer, LM (1993) Organic matter at the sediment-water interface. In Organic Geochemistry: Principles and Applications (eds Engel, MH and Macko, SA), pp. 171–84. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meyers, PA (1994) Preservation of elemental and isotopic source identification of sedimentary organic matter. Chemical Geology 114, 289302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meyers, PA (1997) Organic geochemical proxies of paleoceanographic, paleolimnologic, and paleoclimatic processes. Organic Geochemistry 27, 213–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Milliman, JD and Syvitski, JP (1992) Geomorphic/tectonic control of sediment discharge to the ocean: the importance of small mountainous rivers. The Journal of Geology 100, 525–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Müller, PJ (1977) C/N ratios in Pacific deep sea sediments: effect of inorganic ammonium and organic nitrogen compounds absorbed by clays. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 41, 765–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muzuka, ANN, Macko, SA and Pedersen, TF (1991) Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of organic matter from Sites 724 and 725, Oman Margin. In Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, vol. 117 (eds Prell, WL, Niitsuma, N, Emeis, K-C, Al-Sulaiman, ZK, Al-Tobbah, ANK, Anderson, DM, Barnes, RO, Bilak, RA, Bloemendal, J, Bray, CJ, Busch, WH, Clemens, SC, de Menocal, P, Debrabant, P, Hayashida, A, Hermelin, JOR, Jarrad, RD, Krissek, LA, Kroon, D, Murray, DW, Nigrini, CA, Pedersen, TF, Ricken, W, Shimmield, GB, Spaulding, SA, Takayama, T, ten Haven, HL and Weedon, GP), pp. 571–86. College Station, Texas.Google Scholar
Nagoji, SS and Tiwari, M (2017) Organic carbon preservation in southeastern Arabian Sea sediments since mid-Holocene: implications to South Asian Summer Monsoon variability. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18, 3438–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Naik, SS, Godad, SP, Naidu, PD, Tiwari, M and Paropkari, AL (2014) Early- to late-Holocene contrast in productivity, OMZ intensity and calcite dissolution in the eastern Arabian Sea. The Holocene 24, 749–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Naik, DK, Saraswat, R, Lea, DW, Kurtarkar, SR and Mackensen, A (2017) Last glacial–interglacial productivity and associated changes in the eastern Arabian Sea. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 483, 147–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Leary, MH (1988) Carbon isotopes in photosynthesis, Bioscience 38, 328–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pandey, DK, Clift, PD, Kulhanek, DK and the Expedition 355 Scientists (2016) Arabian Sea Monsoon. Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, vol. 355. College Station, Texas, 61 pp.Google Scholar
Pattan, JN, Masuzawa, T, Naidu, PD, Parthiban, G and Yamamoto, M (2003) Productivity fluctuations in the southeastern Arabian Sea during the last 140 ka. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 193, 575–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pearson, PN and Palmer, MR (2000) Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations over the past 60 million years. Nature 406, 695–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pedersen, TF, Shimmield, GB and Price, NB (1992) Lack of enhanced preservation of organic matter in sediments under the oxygen minimum on the Oman Margin. Geochemical et Cosmochimica Acta 56, 545–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Phillips, DL and Gregg, JW (2001) Uncertainty in source partitioning using stable isotopes. Oecologia 127, 171–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Phillips, DL and Gregg, JW (2003) Source partitioning using stable isotopes: coping with too many sources. Oecologia 136, 261–9.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Phillips, DL and Gregg, JW (2005) Combining sources in stable isotope mixing models: alternative methods. Oecologia 144, 520–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Prins, MA, Postma, G, Cleveringa, J, Cramp, A and Kenyon, NH (2000) Controls on terrigenous sediment supply to the Arabian Sea during the late Quaternary: the Indus Fan. Marine Geology 169, 327–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Quade, J, Cerling, TE and Bowman, JR, (1989) Development of Asian monsoon revealed by marked ecological shift during the latest Miocene in northern Pakistan. Nature 342, 163–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reichart, GJ, Den Dulk, M, Visser, HJ, Van Der Weijden, CH and Zachariasse, WJ (1997) A 225 kyr record of dust supply, paleoproductivity and the Oxygen Minimum Zone from the Murray Ridge (Northern Arabian Sea). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 134, 149–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sarnthein, M, Winn, K, Duplessy, JC and Fontugne, M (1988) Global variations of surface ocean productivity in low and mid latitudes: influence on CO2 reservoirs of the deep ocean and atmosphere during the last 21,000 years. Paleoceanography 3, 361–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schoepfer, SD, Shen, J, Wei, H, Tyson, RV, Ingall, E and Algeo, TJ (2015) Total organic carbon, organic phosphorus, and biogenic barium fluxes as proxies for paleomarine productivity. Earth-Science Reviews 149, 2352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schott, FA and McCreary, JP (2001) The monsoon circulation of the Indian Ocean. Progress in Oceanography 51, 1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schulte, S, Rostek, F, Bard, E, Rullkötter, J and Marchal, O (1999) Variations of oxygen-minimum and primary productivity recorded in sediments of the Arabian Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 173, 205–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smallwood, BJ and Wolff, GA (2000) Molecular characterisation of organic matter in sediments underlying the oxygen minimum zone at the Oman Margin, Arabian Sea. Deep-Sea Research II 47, 353–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, BN and Epstein, S (1971) Two categories of 13C/12C ratios for higher plants. Plant Physiology 47, 380–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stein, R (1991) Accumulation of Organic Carbon in Marine Sediments. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 217 pp.Google Scholar
Stevenson, FJ and Cheng, C-N (1972) Organic geochemistry of the Argentine Basin sediments – carbon–nitrogen relationships and Quaternary correlations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 36, 653–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thamban, M, Rao, VP, Schneider, R and Grootes, PM (2001) Glacial to Holocene fluctuations in hydrography and productivity along the southwestern continental margin of India. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 165, 113–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tripathi, S, Tiwari, M, Lee, J, Khim, BK and IODP Expedition 355 Scientists (2017) First evidence of denitrification vis-à-vis monsoon in the Arabian Sea since Late Miocene. Scientific Reports 7, 43056, doi: 10.1038/srep43056.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
van der Weijden, CH, Reichart, GJ and Visser, HJ (1998) Enhanced preservation of organic matter in sediments deposited within the oxygen minimum zone in the northeastern Arabian Sea. Deep-Sea Research I 46, 807–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wyrtki, K (1971) Oceanographic Atlas of the International Indian Ocean Expedition. Washington, DC: National Science Foundation.Google Scholar
Zachos, J, Pagani, M, Sloan, L, Thomas, E, and Billups, K (2001) Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present. Science 292, 686–93.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zhuang, G, Pagani, M and Zhang, YG (2017) Monsoon upwelling in the western Arabian Sea since the middle Miocene. Geology 45, 655–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Khim et al. supplementary material

Khim et al. supplementary material 1

Download Khim et al. supplementary material(File)
File 41.3 KB
Supplementary material: Image

Khim et al. supplementary material

Khim et al. supplementary material 2

Download Khim et al. supplementary material(Image)
Image 137.7 KB