Abrupt intensification of the SW Indian Ocean monsoon during the last deglaciation: Constraints from Th, Pa, and He isotopes

Franco Marcantonio, Robert F. Anderson, Sean Higgins, Martin Q. Fleisher, Martin Stute, Peter Schlosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Sediments from western Arabian Sea core 74KL representing the last 23 ka were analyzed for helium, thorium, and protactinium isotopes. Assuming global average fluxes of extraterrestrial 3He and 230Th, the average 3He-derived sediment mass accumulation rate (MAR) is a factor of 1.8 higher than the average 230Th-derived MAR. 3He- and 230Th-derived MARs converge, however, during the Younger Dryas (YD) and during the peak of the early Holocene humid interval. These features, not seen anywhere else in the world, probably reflect a combination of climate-driven changes in the flux of 230Th and 3He. Ratios of xs231 Pa/xs230Th, proxies of paleoproductivity, are lowest during the last glacial maximum (LGM), and increase abruptly during the Bolling-Allerod. Later, following a sudden decrease to near-LGM values during the YD, they rise abruptly to maximum values for the entire record in the early Holocene. We hypothesize that low xs231 Pa/sx230Th ratios reflect low productivity due to the decreased intensity of the SW monsoon, whereas the opposite is true for high ratios. The correlation between Arabian Sea productivity and monsoonal upwelling, on the one hand, and North Atlantic climate variability, on the other, suggests a linkage between high- and low-latitude climates caused by changing patterns of atmospheric circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-514
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change
  • Helium
  • Isotopes
  • Monsoons
  • Protactinium
  • Thorium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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