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We investigated sediment and organic-carbon accumulation rates in two jumbo piston cores (MV-54, MV-51) retrieved from the midslope of the northeastern Pandora Trough in the Gulf of Papua, Papua New Guinea. Our data provide a first assessment of mass fluxes over the past ∼33,000 14C years B.P. and variations in organic-carbon sources. Core sediments were analyzed using a suite of physical properties, organic geochemistry, and micropaleontological measurements. MV-54 and MV-51 show two periods of rapid sediment accumulation. The first interval is from ∼15,000 to 20,400 Cal. years B.P. (MV-51: ∼1.09 in ka-1 and ∼81.2 g cm-2 ka-1) and the second occurs at >32,000 14C years B.P. (∼2.70 in ka-1 and ∼244 g cm-2 ka-1). Extremely high accumulation rates (∼3.96 in ka-1; ∼428 g cm-2 ka-1) characterize 15,800-17,700 Cal. years B.P. in MV-54 and likely correspond to early transgression when rivers delivered sediments much closer to the shelf edge. A benthic foraminiferal assemblage in NW-51 from ∼18,400 to 20,400 Cal. years B.P. indicates a seasonally variable flux of organic carbon, possibly resulting from enhanced contrast between monsoon seasons. The oldest sediments, >32,000 14C years B.P., contain TOC fluxes >200 g cm2 ka-1, with >50% of it derived from C3 vascular plant matter. Magnetic susceptibility values are 2 to 3 times higher and benthic foraminiferal accumulation rates are 6 times higher during this interval than at any younger time, indicating a greater influence of detrital minerals and labile organic carbon. The MS data suggest more direct dispersal pathways from central and eastern PNG Rivers to the core site. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface