Carbonate content across all samples varies from 64 to 100 wt%. Values generally exceed 85 wt%, which is consistent with shipboard data (Bralower, Premoli Silva, Malone, et al., 2002) (Fig. F4; Tables T1, T2). Fluctuations between low and high carbonate content are more periodic at the shallower Site 1209, especially in middle to upper lower Eocene sediment. For Hole 1209A, the lowest carbonate contents were found in upper Paleocene sediment deposited at the base of planktonic foraminiferal Zone P4 (~59 Ma) and in middle Eocene sediment deposited at the base of Zone P14 (~40 Ma) (Fig. F4). For Hole 1211A, the lowest carbonate contents were found in middle Eocene sediment deposited at the base of Zone P12 (~43 Ma) (Fig. F4). The upper Paleocene sediment samples with low carbonate content contain abundant phillipsite, fish teeth, manganese-coated planktic foraminifers, and residual foraminiferal assemblages dominated by thick-walled species.
Grain size throughout both studied sequences is generally fine, with the coarse fraction varying from <1 to 40 wt%, but averaging 5 wt% (Fig. F5; Tables T1, T2). The typically small grain size is consistent with shipboard lithological descriptions, which classified the recovered Paleocene and Eocene sediment as nannofossil ooze (Bralower, Premoli Silva, Malone, et al., 2002). There are, however, several intervals particularly enriched in coarse-grained sediment. For both holes, the >38-Ám fraction surpasses 31 wt% at the start of the Paleocene and 13 wt% at the start of the Eocene (Fig. F5).
Benthic foraminifer abundance varies considerably in the samples studied, ranging from <1% to 100% (Fig. F6; Tables T1, T2). In both holes, BENTH usually averages 20%, implying that planktonic species generally dominate Paleocene and Eocene foraminiferal assemblages. A wide range in BENTH occurs, however, because foraminiferal assemblages are comprised mostly of benthic species across several specific intervals, notably in planktonic foraminiferal Zone P4 (~59–58 and 56 Ma) and during the middle and late Eocene in Zones P12–P16 (specifically ~40 and 37–33.7 Ma) in both holes.
The fragmentation index varies from <1% to 100% but averages ~25% and is generally <10% for both sites (Fig. F7; Tables T1, T2). However, significant increases in FRAG were found in Zone P4 (~59–58 and 56 Ma) and during the middle and late Eocene (~37–33.7 Ma) for both holes. In Hole 1209A, FRAG also increases in the middle Eocene (~43 and 41 Ma), and in Hole 1211A, FRAG also increases in the late early Eocene (~51 Ma) and in the middle Eocene (~45 Ma).