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Pliocene-Pleistocene magneto-cyclostratigraphy of IODP Site U1499 and implications for climate-driven sedimentation in the northern South China Sea

Zhang, Yang, Yi, Liang, Ogg, James G.
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 v.527 pp. 118-132
Pleistocene epoch, Zanclean age, clay, climate, gamma radiation, geophysics, legs, magnetism, monsoon season, periodicity, sediments, tectonics, wavelengths, East Asia, South China Sea
A high-resolution astronomical-tuned magnetostratigraphy was obtained from a continuous 333-m succession recovered at International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Hole U1499A in the north margin of the South China Sea (SCS) during joint Legs 367 & 368. A total of 12 magnetic reversals are identified through the Pliocene and Pleistocene. The cycle analysis of natural gamma ray (NGR) data shows an average suite of ca. 33 m and 8 m wavelengths with lesser 1.5-m cycles, which are consistent with the ratios of Milankovitch orbital-climate oscillations caused by long eccentricity (405 kyr), short eccentricity (~100 kyr), and precession (~20 kyr). The astronomical-tuned magnetostratigraphy correlates with nearly all features of the Pliocene-Pleistocene geomagnetic polarity time scale. There was a significant shift to ~100-kyr-dominated cyclicity at ca. 1.3 Ma, which marks the onset of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, during which the influx of the clay component decreased. A general enrichment in silt-sand influx during the past 0.4 Myr was punctuated by surges in coarser-grained components (lowest NGR) during or at the end of each major global glacial event. Comparison to a high-resolution sediment record spanning the Pliocene-Pleistocene on the southern margin of the SCS (ODP Site 1143) indicates common intervals of changing rates of sediment accumulation. In both regions, there are relatively lower rates of sediment accumulation during the late Zanclean (mid-Pliocene; ca. 4.1 to 3.6 Ma), early Gelasian (ca. 2.5 to 2.0 Ma), early Calabrian (ca. 1.6 to 1.4 Ma) and the earliest Middle Pleistocene (ca. 0.6 Ma). The merger of magnetostratigraphy, cyclostratigraphy and the NGR record to produce a high-resolution profile of bulk sediment accumulation rates and relative clay to sand-silt components is a powerful tool and climate proxy to reconstruct the general history of sediment input into the SCS and its relationships to East Asia monsoon and tectonic evolution.