Mg/Ca composition of benthic foraminifera Miliolacea as a new tool of paleoceanography

The Mg/Ca compositions of benthic foraminifera from the superfamily Miliolacea have been studied to explore the use of these high-Mg foraminifera as a proxy for deep ocean conditions. Taxonomic analyses, relative abundance, and depth distributions of different Miliolacea species were carried out on a collection of core-top samples, covering a depth range of 131 m to 2530 m, along the Australian coast of the Timor Sea. Pyrgo sp., comprised of Pyrgo sarsi and Pyrgo murrhina was found to be the most suitable for proxy studies. Mg/Ca values of this group of foraminifera show a strong correlation with bottom water temperatures and carbonate ion saturation described by the linear relationship: Mg/Ca = 2.53(±0.22) × BWT + 0.129(±0.023) × Δ[CO32-] + 4.63(±0.53), within the -1 °C to 8 °C temperature range. Absolute Mg/Ca values of Pyrgo sp. calcite and their temperature sensitivity are similar to those observed for inorganic calcite, suggesting that Mg composition of Pyrgo sp. calcite is mainly controlled by inorganic processes. The Mg/Ca composition of Pyrgo sp. calcite provides a new tool for reconstructing both water temperature and carbonate ion saturation when combined with other proxies for one of these parameters. A down-core record from the Eastern Equatorial Pacific has been generated to illustrate how Mg/Ca values can be used for palaeoclimate studies. This down-core record shows large changes in Pacific bottom waters [CO32-] across glacial-interglacial transition, implying an increase in [CO32-] during the glacial period.

Sadekov A. Y., Bush F., Kerr J., Ganeshram R. & Elderfield H., in press. Mg/Ca composition of benthic foraminifera Miliolacea as a new tool of paleoceanography. Paleoceanography. Article (subscription required).

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