Sediment focusing creates 100-ka cycles in interplanetary dust accumulation on the Ontong Java Plateau Academic Article uri icon


  • The accumulation of extraterrestrial 3 He, a tracer for interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), in sediments from the Ontong Java Plateau (OJP; western equatorial Pacific Ocean) has been shown previously to exhibit a regular cyclicity during the late Pleistocene, with a period of 100 ka. Those results have been interpreted to reflect periodic variability in the global accretion of IDPs that, in turn, has been linked to changes in the inclination of Earths orbit with respect to the invariable plane of the solar system. Here we show that the accumulation in OJP sediments of authigenic 230 Th, produced by radioactive decay of 234 U in seawater, exhibits a 100-ka cyclicity similar in phase and amplitude to that evident in the 3 He record. We interpret the similar patterns of 230 Th and 3 He accumulation to reflect a common origin within the ocean climate system. Comparing spatial and temporal patterns of sediment accumulation against regional patterns of biological productivity and against the well-established pattern of CaCO 3 dissolution in the deep Pacific Ocean leads to the further conclusion that a common 100-ka cycle in accumulation of biogenic, authigenic and extraterrestrial constituents in OJP sediments reflects the influence of climate-related changes in sediment focusing, rather than changes in the rate of production or supply of sedimentary constituents. 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Higgins, S. M., Anderson, R. F., Marcantonio, F., Schlosser, P., & Stute, M.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Higgins, Sean M||Anderson, Robert F||Marcantonio, Franco||Schlosser, Peter||Stute, Martin

publication date

  • October 2002