Site 1079 recovered a relatively continuous hemipelagic sedimentary section spanning the last 700 k.y. of the Pleistocene (Fig. 2). Sediments form one lithostratigraphic unit composed predominantly of uniform olive-gray silty clay with varying amounts of nannofossils and foraminifers. There are also a few discontinuous light olive-gray silt laminae (1-2 mm thickness) which occur below 80 mbsf. Rare gastropods and frequent shell fragments are disseminated throughout the uppermost 60 mbsf. Whitish gray nodules, 1-2 mm in diameter, are sparse in some of the uppermost cores and become more frequent below 90 mbsf. The calcium carbonate content ranges from 7 to 19 wt%, averaging about 13 wt%.
The silt component is dominated by smectite, kaolinite and/or illite, quartz, the feldspar minerals albite and microcline, and muscovite. The biogenic component is represented by frequent foraminifer fragments and nannofossils. Secondary minerals include dolomite, glauconite, and pyrite. Feldspar, in contrast to quartz, is not supplied by the Congo River but originates from igneous complexes in southern Africa and therefore probably represents a southern sediment source fed either by the Kunene River or eolian dust.
Sedimentation rates are high, around 400 m/m.y., in the uppermost 90 mbsf and are lower, around 50 m/m.y., between 90 and 120 mbsf.
Detailed comparisons between the magnetic susceptibility and the GRAPE density records generated on the MST demonstrated complete recovery of the sedimentary sequence down to 132 mcd.
Preservation of calcareous nannofossil specimens is good to very good. The overall abundance ranges from very abundant to abundant throughout the entire section. Reworked specimens (Neogene) are rare to common between 90 and 120 mbsf. Based on the oldest identified datum, the bottom age of Hole 1079A is estimated at 0.7 ± 0.05 Ma. The benthic foraminifers are well preserved and abundant at Site 1079; however, the diversity is relatively low and dominated by Bolivina. Planktonic foraminifers are common in the upper 50 mbsf, but abundance levels fall drastically below 60 mbsf. Diatoms, silicoflagellates, and radiolarians are absent.
Magnetic inclinations and declinations after AF demagnetization at 20 mT indicate that only the Brunhes (C1n) normal polarity chron is recorded. Short reversal events in the Brunhes Chron were not found, despite the high sedimentation rates.
Sediments average 3.0% TOC, which is high for ocean margin areas and reflects a history of elevated primary production in this area. Interstitial water chemistry studies document a sequence of diagenetic processes in the upper 50 mbsf that are caused largely by the degradation of organic matter and carbonate dissolution/reprecipitation reactions. Among these are moderately high levels of methane and carbon dioxide generated by in situ microbial activity. Increases in interstitial water sulfate, chloride, and salinity from 70 mbsf to the bottom of Hole 1079A at 120 mbsf may reflect the influence of evaporite dissolution and brine formation. Profiles of salinity, dissolved chloride, and methane do not indicate the presence of gas hydrate in Site 1079 sediments.
Physical sediment properties were determined both by high-resolution MST core logging and index properties measurements. Magnetic susceptibility and GRAPE signals reveal pronounced cyclicities that were used for high-quality stratigraphic correlation in conjunction with digital color data.
Site 1079 was drilled as a companion to Site 1078 to make an east-west transect in the eastern Angola Basin. High productivity is greatly favored by the supply of nutrients from subsurface waters, probably involving the Angola Dome. Changes in productivity should record the intensity of domal and coastal upwelling and, possibly, the movement of the Benguela/Angola Front. Variations in supply of marine water or terrigenous matter will track climate changes in the drainage basins supplying the sediment, as well as the rates of uplift along the Angolan coast. Such uplift could be because of salt tectonics below the shelf, stimulated by increasing amplitudes of sea-level change. If so, terrigenous influx should greatly increase in the last 1 m.y.
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