Late glacial to holocene sedimentary facies of the Eirik Drift, southern Greenland margin: Spatial and temporal variability and paleoceanographic implications

Sally Davies, Dorrik Stow, Uisdean Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Eirik Drift, off southern Greenland, is one of a series of contourite deposits in the northern North Atlantic that record changes in the strength and location of western boundary currents in the region. To date however, the sedimentary facies, and particularly the variation in facies across this drift, have received relatively little investigation. Here, we present an analysis of the sedimentary facies observed within a transect of cores from the crest to toe of the Eirik Drift from late Pleistocene to Holocene. The Holocene sequence consists of muddy contourites with high sedimentation rates at the drift toe, and a condensed sequence of sandy contourites on the upper drift flanks, consistent with winnowing under strong bottom currents on the upper drift and deposition under a low velocity, sediment-laden current at the drift toe. We interpret this to be a combined result of episodic, high-energy benthic storm events associated with the East Greenland Current (EGC) on the upper drift and more continuous, lower velocity Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC) on the drift flanks. The deglacial interval is represented by muddy contourites across the drift, with evidence for decreasing current activity (both EGC and DWBC) and more widespread ice-rafted deposition from the Bolling-Allerod into the Younger Dryas. Palaeocurrent data from this interval show two separate current directions at the crest of the drift, suggesting temporary, local detachment of the DWBC or EGC, linked to temporal variation in current strength. The late glacial interval consists of glaciomarine hemipelagites and muddy contourites, with evidence for a higher degree of current influence at shallower depths, consistent with a moderate EGC and weak DWBC. This is the first time that the EGC is recognised as having a significant role in sedimentation on the Eirik Drift.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106568
JournalMarine Geology
Early online date17 Jul 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Jul 2021

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