Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments from Ocean Drilling Program Leg 151, Hole 911A, drilled on the innermost Yermak Plateau (Eastern Arctic Ocean), were studied for their dinoflagellate cyst content. Three assemblage zones were tentatively defined, characterized by the predominance of few species. The composition of the assemblages changed markedly, even within single assemblage zones, during the last 2.6 to 2.8 m.y., reflecting the variable influence of warmer water from the Norwegian Sea, fluctuations in the influence of cold polar water masses, and the extent of sea-ice cover. Polar to subpolar surface water masses prevailed on the Yermak Plateau during the late Pliocene, when the eastern Arctic Ocean was probably isolated from the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Intrusions of warmer water are recorded since the latest Pliocene, alternating with colder periods and a prolonged seasonal sea-ice cover. The composition of the dinoflagellate cyst assemblages has also changed considerably since the middle Pleistocene, reflecting the establishment of stronger fluctuations in surface water mass conditions than before at Yermak Plateau.
Date of initial receipt: 7 July 1995
Date of acceptance: 15 December 1995
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