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Identification of Atlantic water inflow on the north Svalbard shelf during the Holocene

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Nordaustlandet is located in the northeastern part of the Svalbard archipelago, within the northernmost reach of the West Spitsbergen Current. This current transports Atlantic water to the Arctic Ocean along the western and northern Svalbard margins. This region is well-suited for reconstructing the history of changing Atlantic water inflow to the Arctic Ocean. We studied the marine sediment core HH12-04-GC from Rijpfjorden. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages and sedimentological data are combined to reconstruct the palaeoenvironment of the fjord from the end of the last local deglaciation to the late Holocene. The local deglaciation, between 11.3 and 10.6 cal ka bp, was dominated by active glacier calving processes, associated with a strong inflow of Atlantic water. This led to the establishment of glaciomarine conditions. The Holocene was initially characterised by a relatively stable and warm environment associated with a strong contribution of Atlantic water. Glaciomarine influence progressively decreases after 9.7 cal ka bp and the Atlantic water contribution increases. The late Holocene displayed a similar environment to today, with the influence of glaciomarine conditions and limited Atlantic water inflow. These results confirm that Atlantic water inflows made a continuous contribution to northern Nordaustlandet throughout the postglacial period.

Journal: Journal of Quaternary Science
ISSN: 0267-8179
Issue: 1
Volume: 37
Pages: 86-99
Publication year:2021
Keywords:benthic foraminifera, Nordaustlandet, palaeoenvironment and palaeoceanographic reconstructions, Rijpfjorden, sediments