EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Upper-ocean stratification of the NE South China Sea during the last 35 ka: Implications from oxygen isotope records from planktonic foraminifera

Tzu-Chun Wang1, Andrew Tien-Shun Lin1, Horng-Sheng Mii2, Chorng-Shern Horng3, and Christophe Colin4
Tzu-Chun Wang et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Science, National Central University, Taiwan (
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
  • 3Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • 4Laboratoire IDES, UMR 8148 CNRS, Université de Paris XI, France

The sedimentation rate in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS) is high and it therefore offers an opportunity for a high-resolution paleoceanographic study. This study is based on high-resolution AMS 14C dating on forams and oxygen isotope data of two planktonic foraminifera species (Globigerinoides ruber and Neogloboquadrina dutertrei) from the sediment core, MD18-3568, collected from the northeastern SCS, to reconstruct upper-ocean stratification since 35 ka.

The marine sediment core MD18-3568 is located on the accretionary wedge off SW Taiwan at a water depth of 1,315 m, the whole core is dominated by hemipelagic sediments and is of 20.7 m in length. Samples for AMS 14C dating were selected at roughly 2 ka interval with a total of 16 samples. The ages show a continuously younging-upward trend with bottom of this core around 35,000 years BP. Samples for high-resolution oxygen isotope measurements were selected at a nominal 500-year age interval. The difference in δ18O between G. ruber (mixed layer dwelling species) and N. dutertrei (thermocline dwelling species) is used to reconstruct the upper ocean stratification with large difference indicating significant ocean stratification and vice versa. The results show moderate upper ocean stratification during 35-24 ka, and it became less stratified during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 23-19 ka). During the deglacial stage, the stratification gradually became stronger until the early Holocene (12-9 ka), and it has kept strong upper-ocean stratification since 9 ka. Literature has documented less rainfall intensity during the LGM and heavy rainfall during the Holocene in southern Taiwan. We interpret the upper-ocean stratification in the NE South China Sea near Taiwan is linked to the amount of freshwater inputs from Taiwan. Less Taiwan freshwater input during the LGM led to a weak stratified upper ocean and a large amount of freshwater input from Taiwan led to a strong upper-ocean stratification during the Holocene.

How to cite: Wang, T.-C., Lin, A. T.-S., Mii, H.-S., Horng, C.-S., and Colin, C.: Upper-ocean stratification of the NE South China Sea during the last 35 ka: Implications from oxygen isotope records from planktonic foraminifera, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3222,, 2020

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