High-resolution Holocene Records of Paleoceanographic and Paleoclimatic Variability from the Southern Alaskan Continental Margin


We are investigating sediments from the fjords and continental margin of southern Alaska to develop high-resolution climatic and oceanographic records for the Late Quaternary. Our goal is to better understand linkages between climatic, terrestrial and oceanic systems in this tectonically active and biologically productive region. A field program was conducted aboard the R/V Maurice Ewing in August/September 2004 utilizing geophysical surveys (high-resolution swath bathymetric and backscatter imaging, shallow sub-bottom profiling, and where permitted, high-resolution seismic reflection profiling), piston and multi-coring, and CTD/water sampling at about 30 sites in this region. Cores are being analyzed for sedimentological, microfossil, geochemical and stable isotopic proxies, with chronologies constrained by Pb-210, AMS radiocarbon, tephrochronolgic and paleomagnetic dating. Our preliminary results demonstrate that these rapidly accumulating sedimentary archives can resolve environmental changes on annual to decadal timescales. Records of recent changes in lithogenic sediment accumulation and biological productivity on the Gulf of Alaska shelf track historical climatic data that extends to the early 20th century in this region. The records also correlate with multi-decadal climate regimes during the Little Ice Age as suggested by tree-ring, glacial advance and salmon abundance records from nearby coastal sites. Jack Dymond's enthusiasm for collaborative, interdisciplinary research will help guide us in unraveling the fingerprints of key processes in this relatively unexplored region.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal Title

EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union

Conference Date

Dec 13 - Dec 17, 2004

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type

Conference Proceeding