New paper on Cenozoic history of contourite sedimentation in North Atlantic Ocean

I’m excited to announce the publication of a new paper from our group out in Marine Geology titled “Cenozoic North Atlantic deep circulation history recorded in contourite drifts, offshore Newfoundland, Canada”.

This paper is based on the M.S. thesis work of former VT Sedimentary Systems Research graduate student Patrick Boyle. Pat used a grid of 2-D seismic-reflection data tied to nine IODP Exp 342 boreholes (drilled in 2012) that have robust bio- and magneto-stratigraphic age control. The resulting seismic stratigraphic framework is used to document the spatial and temporal distribution of deep-sea contourite drift sediments on the Newfoundland ridges and relationship to deep circulation history in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

The onset of bottom-current-controlled, terrigenous-dominated sediment deposition occurs at ~47 Ma and continues, generally, through the present. Unlike many other areas in the western North Atlantic Ocean, we did not identify a prominent (mappable) seismic horizon corresponding with the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. The paper discusses this and other paleoceanographic implications in more detail. Below is the summary figure of the paper, which puts the mapping of the sedimentary drifts into this broader context.

This paper provides important regional and long-term context for the many higher-resolution paleoceanographic studies based on IODP Exp 342 cores that are in the works. Additionally, this new seismic stratigraphic framework is helping design strategies for future ocean drilling proposals.

Congrats to Pat on getting his thesis published!