Evidence from sediments in cores collected from within the present oxygen-minimum zone (OMZ; 600-1200 m) on the central and northern California margins record several episodes during the last interstadial (OIS-3, ca. 60-24 ka) of deposition of laminated sediments containing elevated concentrations of several trace elements indicative of anoxic conditions (e.g., Mo, Ni, Zn, and Cu). The presence of abundant well-preserved organic matter, as well as lack of bioturbation and the presence of elevated concentrations of Mo and other trace elements, all support the theory that the OMZ in the northeastern Pacific Ocean was more intense, possibly anoxic, at several times during the late Pleistocene. Sediments of all ages in cores from the southern California margin contain elevated concentrations of Mo, suggesting that this area has always had higher rates of sulfate reduction than either the central or northern California areas. Most of the Ba in sediments in all cores collected on the upper continental slope (200-2700 m) off California and southern Oregon is derived from detrital clastic material, and this source did not change much in time. However, the amount of biogenic Ba did vary with time, and these variations closely follow the temporal variations in organic C (Corg) mass accumulation rate. Using Ba and Corg mass accumulation rates as proxy variables for productivity, all cores show that organic productivity under the California Current upwelling system was highest during OIS-3 and the Holocene, and lowest during the last glacial interval (LGI, ca. 24-10 ka). All paleoproductivity proxy variables indicate that the southern California area has always experienced higher productivity than other areas under the California Current, at least over the last 50 ky. Copyright ?? 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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Inorganic geochemical indicators of glacial-interglacial changes in productivity and anoxia on the California continental margin