Drilling at Site 1076 recovered a relatively continuous hemipelagic sedimentary section spanning the last 1.5-1.6 m.y. of the Pleistocene. The sediments form one lithostratigraphic unit composed of bioturbated organic carbon-rich olive-gray clay and greenish gray clay (Fig. 2). Small shell fragments are present in many intervals. Above 150 mbsf, the calcium carbonate concentration alternates between 3 and 16 wt% and is limited below 150 mbsf to a maximum of 3.5 wt%. The biogenic portion of the sediment contains rare to abundant diatoms with rare nannofossils, silicoflagellates, siliceous sponge spicules, phytoliths, and traces of radiolarian and foraminifer fragments. Diatoms are abundant in both greenish gray and olive-gray intervals. Authigenic components are dominated by the presence of glauconite, dolomite, and iron sulfides. Rare, friable nodules, possibly phosphatic, are sometimes disseminated throughout certain intervals. Sedimentation rates range from 200 m/m.y. in the uppermost 80 mbsf, to 50 m/m.y. between 80 and 120 mbsf, to 210 m/m.y. between 120 and 200 mbsf.
Detailed comparisons between the magnetic susceptibility record generated on the MST and high resolution color reflectance measured with the Minolta spectrophotometer demonstrated complete recovery of the sedimentary sequence down to 140 mcd.
Calcareous microfossils show evidence of reworking. Their abundance and preservation deteriorates gradually between 100 and 200 mbsf. Siliceous microfossils are relatively abundant, well preserved, and show no evidence of reworking. The calcareous nannofossil-based biostratigraphy is in disagreement with the paleomagnetic time frame for the lower half interval of Hole 1076A. We tentatively explain this discrepancy as a result of both poor preservation and reworking of calcareous nannofossils. Both calcareous nannofossil and benthic foraminifer assemblages suggest a discontinuity within the sedimentary record at a depth of 120 mbsf. Downcore changes in planktonic foraminifers and diatom assemblages are used as indices of variable surface and subsurface hydrography, as well as proxies for coastal upwelling and fluvial input.
A magnetostratigraphy was determined after AF demagnetization at 20 mT. The Matuyama/Brunhes boundary occurs at around 138 mbsf, and the onset and termination of the Jaramillo Subchron (C1r.1n) was identified in the lower part of the section. A short reversal event in the Brunhes Chron (possibly the Blake event) occurs in all four holes.
Interstitial water profiles record the complete consumption of dissolved sulfate within the uppermost 20 mbsf. In this interval alkalinity and ammonium also increase sharply, recording the degradation of organic matter. The distributions of dissolved strontium, calcium, and magnesium suggest two depth domains of carbonate dissolution and reprecipitation reactions: the first from 0 to 50 mbsf and the deeper from 120 to 200 mbsf.
The average concentration of TOC is 2.6%, which is rather high for ocean margin areas and reflects a history of elevated primary production in this area. The organic matter appears to be mostly marine in origin. Its microbial degradation in the sediments has fueled a sequence of redox processes. One consequence of the degradation has been the production of moderate amounts of biogenic methane and carbon dioxide and additional dissolution of calcareous sediment components within the sediment.
Physical sediment properties were determined both by high-resolution MST core logging and index properties measurements. Magnetic susceptibility and GRAPE signals reveal pronounced cyclicities, which were in conjunction with digital color data used for high-quality stratigraphic correlation.
Site 1076, through its position within the domain of Congo River sedimentation and its high resolution continuous record back through much of the Quaternary, will provide the basis for a tie in of climatic records of West Africa Congo River activity, coastal upwelling activity, and eastern tropical ocean dynamics. Of special interest are the competing source effects for land-derived materials, with some (most?) being brought directly by the river and the rest originating from reworked shelf sediments, especially during periods of low sea level.
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