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Last glacial jetting of cold waters through the subtropical convergence zone in the southwest Pacific off eastern New Zealand, and some geological implications

Nelson, C.S.; Hendy, I.L.; Neil, H.L.; Hendy, C.H.; Weaver, P.P.E.. 2000 Last glacial jetting of cold waters through the subtropical convergence zone in the southwest Pacific off eastern New Zealand, and some geological implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 156 (1/2). 103-121. 10.1016/S0031-0182(99)00134-0

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Abstract/Summary

Recent evidence suggests that the Subtropical Convergence (STC) zone east of New Zealand shifted little from its modern position along Chatham Rise during the last glaciation, and that offshore surface waters north of the STC zone cooled only slightly. However, at nearshore core site P69 (2195 m depth), 115 km off the east coast of North Island and ca 300 km north of the modern STC zone, planktonic foraminiferal species, transfer function data and stable oxygen and carbon isotope records suggest that surface waters were colder by up to 6°C during the late last glacial period compared to the Holocene, and included a strong upwelling signature. Presently site P69 is bathed by south-flowing subtropical waters in the East Cape Current. The nearshore western end of Chatham Rise supports a major bathymetric depression, the Mernoo Saddle, through which some exchange between northern subtropical and southern subantarctic water presently occurs. It is proposed that as a result of much intensified current flows south of the Rise during the last glaciation, a consequence of more compressed subantarctic water masses, lowered sea level, and an expanded and stronger Westerly Wind system, there was accelerated leakage northwards of both Australasian Subantarctic Water and upwelled Antarctic Intermediate Water over Mernoo Saddle in a modified and intensified Southland Current. The expanded cold water masses displaced the south-flowing warm East Cape Current off southeastern North Island, and offshore divergence was accompanied by wind-assisted upwelling of nutrient-rich waters in the vicinity of P69. A comparable kind of inshore cold water jetting possibly characterised most glacial periods since the latest Miocene, and may account for the occasional occurrence of subantarctic marine fossils in onland late Cenozoic deposits north of the STC zone, rather than invoking wholesale major oscillations of the oceanic STC itself.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/S0031-0182(99)00134-0
Additional Keywords: NEW ZEALAND WATERS, SUBTROPICAL CONVERGENCE, QUATERNARY, PALAEOCEANOGRAPHY, FORAMINIFERA, UPWELLING,
Date made live: 13 Sep 2004 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/108783

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