Sr and Nd isotope composition of Late Pleistocene sapropels and nonsapropelic sediments from the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. implications for detrital influx and climatic conditions in the source areas
Isotopic ratios of Sr and Nd from lithogenic components of three isochronous core sections recovered from an east-west transect in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (EMS) have been analyzed. The data are used for a quantitative estimate of the temporal and spatial variation of detrital flux to the EMS, assuming Saharan dust and Aegean/Nile particulate matter as dominant end members. It was established that the carbonate-free Saharan dust flux during deposition of the nonsapropel layers of marine oxygen isotope stage 5.4 (MIS 5.4) was similar to the present flux. During the deposition of sapropels S5 and S6, however, the Saharan dust input was drastically reduced and was not balanced by a change in the riverine influx at this time. Denser vegetation cover during more humid conditions may have reduced physical erosion and sediment removal in the source area. During marine oxygen isotope stage 6.2 (MIS 6.2) a pronounced increase of Saharan dust and detrital influx from the Aegean region is evident and implies more arid conditions in the southern and northern catchment areas. During this period, intersite variations are interpreted in terms of their geographic location relative to the seaways connecting the Aegean Sea and EMS. The width of the straits and hence the amount of sediment entering the eastern basins may have been affected by a low sea level that impeded interbasin sediment dispersal.