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Monsoons, Upwelling, and the Deoxygenation of the Northwestern Indian Ocean in Response to Middle to Late Miocene Global Climatic Shifts

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  • Or M. Bialik
  • Gerald Auer
  • Nanako O. Ogawa
  • Dick Kroon
  • Nicolas D. Waldmann
  • Naohiko Ohkouchi

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Original languageEnglish
JournalPaleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


Today, upwelling along the Oman margin in the Arabian Sea is governed by the South Asian Monsoon winds. The Oman upwelling results in the formation of an oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) spanning across the Arabian Sea and large parts of the Indian Ocean. While these conditions are recorded as early as the middle Miocene (~15 Ma), the long‐term dynamics of upwelling in the Arabian Sea are as of yet poorly constrained during the middle to late Miocene. Here, we use organic and inorganic proxies combined with sedimentary and paleontological records to constrain the evolution of upwelling at Ocean Drilling Program Site 722B between ~15 and ~8.7 Ma. Our record shows that Mn depletion occurred at ~14.5 Ma, likely due to regionally confined OMZ formation at that time. Biogenic silica accumulation intensified between ~12.5 and ~11 Ma. The δ15N values (>6‰) provide evidence for the onset of at least intermittent denitrification between ~11 and ~9.5 Ma during the apex of the global “carbonate crash.” Our data demonstrate that upwelling and OMZ intensity in the Arabian Sea were linked to the reorganization of the Indian Ocean circulation system and South Asian Monsoon during the Miocene. The initiation of these systems occurred once the regional tectonic configuration (i.e., the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau ~25 Ma and the closure of the Tethyan seaway ~20 Ma) was in place. The subsequent development of monsoonal upwelling after 14 Ma responded to latitudinal shifts in climatic belts following the progressive Miocene glaciation of Antarctica.

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