Arctic Ocean manganese contents and sediment colour cycles

  • Ludvig Löwemark
  • Martin Jakobsson
  • Magnus Mörth
  • Jan Backman


Cyclical variations in colour and manganese content in sediments from the central Arctic Ocean have been interpreted to represent climatically controlled changes in the input of Mn from the Siberian hinterland, and/or variations in the intermediate and deep water ventilation of the Arctic basins, although a diagenetic origin has not been excluded. A reinvestigation of core 96/12-1pc using an Itrax X-ray fluoresence (XRF) core scanner confirms that these colour cycles are indeed controlled by variations in Mn content, although changes in the source region of the sediment may override the Mn colour signal in certain intervals. The prominent Mn cycles show no correspondence to any of the other measured elements. This decoupling of Mn and the bulk chemistry of the sediment is taken to indicate that the cycles observed are caused by variations in water column ventilation and riverine input, rather than variations in sediment source or diagenesis. We therefore conclude that the Mn maxima do represent warm phases with increased ventilation and/or riverine input, and that they therefore could be used for chronostratigraphic correlation between cores from the central Arctic Ocean, where traditional isotope stratigraphy is difficult or impossible to establish because of the lack of calcareous microfossils.


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How to Cite
Löwemark, L., Jakobsson, M., Mörth, M., & Backman, J. (2008). Arctic Ocean manganese contents and sediment colour cycles. Polar Research, 27(2), 105-113.