Site 1220 (10°10.600´N, 142°45.503´W; 5218 meters below sea level (mbsl); Fig. F1) forms a southerly component of the 56-Ma transect drilled during Leg 199. It is situated about midway between the Clipperton and Clarion Fracture Zones in typical abyssal hill topography. On the basis of regional magnetic anomalies, we anticipated basement age at Site 1220 to be equivalent to Chron C25n (~56 Ma; Cande et al., 1989), slightly older than at Site 1219. At the outset of drilling at Site 1220, our estimate for total sediment depth was ~225 meters below seafloor (mbsf) (Fig. F2).
Based upon a fixed hotspot model (Gripp and Gordon, 1990, for 0- to 5-Ma Pacific hotspot rotation pole; Engebretson et al., 1985, for older poles), Site 1220 should have been located ~3° south of the equator at 56 Ma and in an equatorial position at 40 Ma. Thus, Site 1220 should have been situated underneath the South Equatorial Current in the early Eocene. A nearby piston core (EW9709-13PC) taken during the site survey cruise recovered >16 m of red clay, with the base of the core dated as middle-early Miocene on the basis of radiolarian biostratigraphy (Lyle, 2000).
Site 1220 will be used to study equatorial ocean circulation from the late Paleocene through the late Eocene during the early Cenozoic thermal maximum. Sediment records from this site will help to define the calcite compensation depth (CCD) and lysocline during the Paleocene-Eocene and Eocene-Oligocene transitions. In this and other respects, Site 1220 will act as an interesting analog to Site 1218. Both sites are thought to have been located on the equator at ~40 Ma, but the older crustal age anticipated at Site 1220 dictates a greater paleowater depth than for contemporaneous sediments accumulating at Site 1218.
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