Cenozoic Climatic Variation Recorded by Quartz and Clay Minerals in North Pacific Sediments

  • Cynthia T. Schramm
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 282)


Clay mineral and quartz contents of sediments from two western North Pacific DSDP sites record a history of paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic conditions of the last 65 million years. DSDP Site 436 has recorded an eolian signal of terrigenous material that was transported from Asia. The relatively small range of variation in quartz content indicates that the source of sediment was consistent during the Cenozoic. At DSDP Site 578, the temporal variation of quartz and clay mineral contents in sediments prior to 15MYBP are grossly similar to those recorded in Site 436. However, anomalously low quartz content and accumulation in the bulk sediment since the middle Miocene suggests that the eolian signal at Site 578 was complicated by bottom-current sediment transport.

The evolution of the earth during the last 60MY altered climatic factors that govern the erosion and atmospheric transport of terrigenous material out over the North Pacific. A change in the style of weathering is apparent in the mineralogy of the deep-sea sediments. Low concentrations of kaolinite, indicative of chemical weathering in western North Pacific sediments younger than roughly 20MYBP from DSDP Site 436, reflect increased aridity since that time. Clays associated with cool mechanical weathering gradually increased in relative abundance from climates and the early Miocene, approximately 20MYBP, through the Pliocene at Site 436. However, day composition at Site 578 does not record an increase in the relative abundance of clays indicative of cool climates and mechanical weathering until the late Miocene. A major change in the quantity of eolian material accumulating in the western North Pacific is not synchronous with the change in weathering deduced from the mineralogy. A large increase in accumulation rates of quartz and day minerals in the middle Miocene (approximately 14MYBP) reflects a permanent change in the climatic factors that determine the efficiency of atmospheric transport. Climate models to date do not explain the nature of the climatic response inferred from changes in eolian transport to known tectonic and oceanographic events.


Dust Storm Middle Miocene Bulk Sediment Asian Dust Terrigenous Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia T. Schramm
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragansettUSA

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