Late Quaternary dinoflagellate cyst stratigraphy at the Eurasian continental margin, Arctic Ocean: indications for Atlantic water inflow in the past 150,000 years
Four sediment cores located at the Eurasian continental margin underlying the Atlantic layer have been studied for their dinoflagellate cyst content. Concentrations of distinct dinoflagellate cyst taxa display fluctuations in the late Quaternary, which are linked to changes in the inflow of relatively warm Atlantic surface and near-surface waters, resulting in increased local production of cysts in certain time intervals. Based on the assumption that marked changes in strength of inflow occurred synchronously at the Eurasian continental margin, concentration maxima can be used to correlate sediment cores. A dinoflagellate cyst record from the northern Barents Sea continental margin has been related to the stable oxygen isotope and paleomagnetic records to provide direct chronological information. The combination of these methods permits definition of stratigraphic sections equivalent to oxygen isotope stages in carbonate-poor sequences from the Eurasian continental margin. Previous age models of sediment cores are revised, based on dinoflagellate cyst abundance peaks and species distribution, but a firm chronostratigraphy of sedimentary sequences at the eastern Laptev Sea continental margin cannot be established because of the weak signal at the sites furthest from Fram Strait. In the past 150,000 years, the influence of Atlantic (sub-) surface waters generally decreased from west to east along the Eurasian continental margin, in particular during the glacials. Pronounced concentration maxima of cosmopolitan and temperate-subpolar dinoflagellate cysts indicate the inflow of Atlantic waters and seasonally increased production of cysts in the Holocene and Eemian. The Holocene is well-marked at the entire Eurasian continental margin but it is more difficult to assess the extent of (sub-) surface water inflow during the Eemian, which may have only reached the western Laptev Sea continental margin.