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Middle to Late Pleistocene Evolution of the Bengal Fan: Integrating Core and Seismic Observations for Chronostratigraphic Modeling of the IODP Expedition 354 8° North Transect

Abstract : We investigate chronology and age uncertainty for the middle to upper Pleistocene lower Bengal Fan using a novel age-depth modeling approach that factors lithostratigraphic, magnetostratigraphic, biostratigraphic, cyclostratigraphic, and seismic stratigraphic constraints, based on results from the International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 354 Bengal Fan and analysis of the GeoB97-020/027 seismic line. The initial chronostratigraphic framework is established using regionally extensive hemipelagic sediment units, and only age-depth models of fan deposits that respect the superposition of channel-levee systems between sites are accepted. In doing so, we reconstruct signals of regional sediment accumulation rate and lithogenic sediment input through the perspective of a two-dimensional~320 km transect at 8°N that are consistent with more distal and more ambiguous regional records. This chronology allows us to discuss the depositional history of the middle to upper Pleistocene lower Bengal Fan within the context of sea level, climate, and tectonic controls. We hypothesize, based on the timing of accumulation rate changes, that progradation and intensification of the Bengal Fan's channel-levee system at 8°N was largely driven by increases in sea level amplitude during this time. However, it is also possible this progradation was influenced by changes in Pleistocene climate and increased Himalayan erosion rates, driving greater sediment flux to the fan. Plain Language Summary Deep sea fans are sediment deposits in the ocean that often form near river systems offshore continental margins. The largest of these, the Bengal Fan in the northern Indian Ocean, contains the most complete record of materials eroded from the Himalayan Mountains and can be used to study the climate and tectonic history of the region. Sediments are moved from the river mouth to the fan in a series of ever-changing channels that distribute sediments across the fan surface, making it impossible to obtain a complete and continuous record of Himalayan erosion at any one location. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 354 drilled a series of seven locations in a transect across the fan to capture a more complete record of where sediment was deposited over the last 1.25 Myr, a time characterized by major changes in Earth's climate system. Here we discuss statistics of sediment deposition from a computer model constrained by observations from those seven sites. The results indicate that the Bengal Fan grew rapidly during a time when global sea level changes, caused by the growth and decay of continental ice sheets, became more intense.
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Brendan Reilly, Fenna Bergmann, Michael Weber, Joseph Stoner, Peter Selkin, et al.. Middle to Late Pleistocene Evolution of the Bengal Fan: Integrating Core and Seismic Observations for Chronostratigraphic Modeling of the IODP Expedition 354 8° North Transect. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, AGU and the Geochemical Society, 2020, 21 (4), ⟨10.1029/2019GC008878⟩. ⟨hal-02547679⟩

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