Orbital-scale evolution of the Indian summer monsoon since 1.2 Ma: Evidence from clay mineral records at IODP Expedition 355 Site U1456 in the eastern Arabian Sea

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Clay mineral assemblages at International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 355 Site U1456 drilled in the eastern Arabian Sea have been investigated to reveal the sediment provenances and reconstruct the erosion/weathering patterns in the western Himalaya and Indian subcontinent, thus constraining the evolution of the Indian summer monsoon and its forcing mechanism since 1.2 Ma. The clay mineral assemblages at Site U1456 mainly comprise smectite (with an average value of 59%) and illite (with an average value of 33%), with chlorite (with an average value of 5%) and kaolinite (with an average value of 3%) as minor constituents. In terms of sediment provenance, our results indicate that illite and chlorite are predominantly derived from the Indus River, which originates from the western Himalaya and Karakoram, while smectite is primarily sourced from the Narmada River and Tapti River in the Deccan Traps, with a non-negligible contribution from the Indus River in some cases. Variations in smectite/(illite + chlorite) ratio are ultimately controlled by the Indian summer monsoon, which is characterized by approximate glacial/interglacial cyclicity, showing higher values (i.e., enhanced chemical weathering) during interglacial periods. In addition, a major shift in smectite/(illite + chlorite) ratio at 0.9 Ma is correlated to the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (∼1.2–0.9 Ma). Both the Marine Isotope Stage 13 event (533–478 ka) and the Mid-Brunhes Event (∼430 ka) are also recorded in the clay mineral proxies. Based on the spectral analysis, smectite/(illite + chlorite) ratio displays a transition from nonprimary periodicity (29-kyr) to strong eccentricity (100-kyr) and precession (22-kyr) periodicities at approximately 0.9 Ma, which corresponds to the Mid-Pleistocene Transition. Our study indicates that the variability of the Indian summer monsoon at orbital timescales is controlled by high-latitude (i.e., ice volume) and low-latitude (i.e., summer insolation) processes.

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Journal of Asian Earth Sciences

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