Palaeoceanography of the Japan Sea Across the Mid-Pleistocene Transition: Insights From IODP Exp. 346, Site U1427

Sonja Felder*, Takuya Sagawa, Mervyn Greaves, Melanie J. Leng, Ken Ikehara, Katsunori Kimoto, Siro Hasegawa, Thomas Wagner, Andrew C. G. Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
93 Downloads (Pure)


Large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns, such as the East Asian monsoon, have been proposed as possible feedbacks of the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT). Marine sediments of the Japan Sea (JS) record variations in the East Asian monsoon over long timescales and may be crucial for understanding of the MPT. To interpret these sediments correctly an understanding of the JS palaeoceanography is necessary. So far, the JS palaeoceanography has been extrapolated across the MPT from studies of the most recent glacial-interglacial cycles. These suggest a good connection and unrestricted water-mass exchange with the open ocean during interglacial sea-level highstands, while during glacial sea-level lowstands the JS is nearly isolated. Glacial isolation often results in poor carbonate preservation and unusually low oxygen isotope (δ18O) ratios from low-saline/low-δ18O waters accumulating in the basin. Using the sediments of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Site U1427, a shallow-water site in the southern JS, we present a continuous foraminiferal δ18O record encompassing the MPT. This record shows the JS-typical low glacial δ18O values in the late phase of the MPT, across Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 24-17, while earlier MPT glacials, across MIS 39-25, are characterized by high δ18O values. We propose that high glacial δ18O values are the result of an improved connection between the shallow, southern JS and adjacent ocean during early MPT glacials. The impact of this palaeoceanographic mode, if continued to deep-water sites, would make the interpretation of dark/light sediment layers as glacial/interglacial deposits uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021PA004236
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number1
Early online date7 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • IODP Exp. 346
  • Japan Sea palaeoceanography across the mid-Pleistocene transition
  • Japan Sea δO of seawater record
  • Mg/Ca-temperature core-top calibration for Uvigerina
  • Site U1427
  • Uvigerina oxygen isotope and trace element (Mg/Ca) records

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Palaeoceanography of the Japan Sea Across the Mid-Pleistocene Transition: Insights From IODP Exp. 346, Site U1427'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this