A north-south transect of 17 cores was constructed along the eastern boundary of the California Current system from 33?? to 42?? N to investigate the changes in biogenic sedimentation over the past 30 kyr. Percentages and mass accumulation rates of CaCO3, Corg, and biogenic opal were assembled at 500 to 1000 years/sample to provide relatively high resolution. Time-space maps reveal a complex pattern of changes that do not follow a simple glacial-interglacial two-mode model. Biogenic sedimentation shows responses that are sometimes time-transgressive and sometimes coeval, and most of the responses show more consistency within a limited geographic area than any temporal consistency. Reconstructed conditions during late oxygen isotope stage 3 were more like early Holocene conditions than any other time during the last 30 kyr. Coastal upwelling and productivity during oxygen isotope stage 3 were relatively strong along the central California margin but were weak along the northern California margin. Precipitation increased during the last glacial interval in the central California region, and the waters of the southern California margin had relatively low productivity. Productivity on the southern Oregon margin was relatively low at the beginning of the last glacial interval, but by about 20 ka, productivity in this area significantly increased. This change suggests that the center of the divergence of the West Wind Drift shifted south at this time. The end of the last glacial interval was characterized by increased productivity in the southern California margin and increased upwelling along the central California margin but upwelling remained weak along the northern California margin. A sudden (<300 years) decrease in CaCO3, Corg, and biogenic opal occurred at 13 ka. The changes suggest a major reorientation of the atmospheric circulation in the North Pacific and western North America and the establishment of a strong seasonality in the central California region. A carbonate preservation event occurred at 10 ka that appears to reflect the uptake of CO2 by the terrestrial biosphere as the northern latitudes were reforested following retreat of the glaciers. The Holocene has been a period of relatively high productivity in the southern California margin, relatively strong coastal upwelling along the central California margin, relatively weak upwelling along the northern California margin, and the northward migration of the divergence zone of the West Wind Drift.
Additional publication details
Biogenic sedimentation beneath the California Current system for the past 30 kyr and its paleoceanographic significance