Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 April 2018
Sea surface reservoir ages (R) are reported from radiocarbon (14C) measurements of the annual growth bands of coral Siderastrea siderea collected on the Atlantic coast off Martinique Island, in the Lesser Antilles volcanic arc. Mean values of R are similar between 1835 and 1845 during pre-anthropogenic times at 385±30 yr and between 1895 and 1905 at 382±20 yr when there was a huge eruption from the Montagne Pelée volcano in 1902–1903. Limited 14C aging of sea surface (~40 yr) may be due to enhanced volcanic activity. Variability of R is slightly greater during 1835–1845 than during 1895–1905. It is linked to a moderate increase of ∆14C of 5‰, strengthened by a clear increase of δ18O of 0.4‰. This is attributed to a decrease of the northward advection of the South Atlantic Waters into the western tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea and relative enhanced westward flux of the tropical North Atlantic surface waters, the southern waters having lower values of 14C and δ18O than the North Atlantic ones. From 1835 to 1845, the fraction of the South Atlantic Waters transported up to Martinique Island was reduced from 25% to 15%.