Changing sedimentary environment during the late Quaternary: Sedimentological and isotopic evidence from the distal Bengal Fan
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The sediments recovered from two gravity cores of the lower and distal Bengal Fan were investigated for sedimentological properties and Sr -Nd isotopes.Each core exhibits two distinct units, the lower unit 2 and upper unit 1 sediments. The unit 2 sediments are predominantly olive black/grey in colour with abundant finer silt-size fractions, low organic carbon and CaCO sub(3), quartz and mica in the coarse fraction, dominant illite and chlorite in the less than 2 Mu m fraction and uniform rock-magnetic properties. Biogenic constituents are extremely rare or restricted to the lower part of unit 2. The unit 1 sediments, on the other hand, are moderate brown/yellowish brown in colour with intermittent thin dark-coloured sediment layers. Higher clay, organic carbon, CaCO sub(3), and biogenic constituents in the coarse fraction, and enriched smectite and kaolinite in the o m fraction are typical. Magnetic susceptibility values are higher and correlate well with acid-insoluble residue content. Higher Rb, Sr, Sm and Nd concentrations, sup(87)Sr/sup(86)Sr ratios and more radiogenic epsilon Nd values are characteristic for unit 2 sediments compared to unit 1 in both the cores. The unit 2 sediments represent Pleistocene hemiturbidites, older than 13 sup(14)C kyr BP with their source from the northern Bay of Bengal (NBOB), derived from the Himalayas and transported by the Ganges -Brahmaputra (G -B)River system. Unit 1 sediments are calcareous pelagic sediments, which started depositing approx. 12 sup(14)C kyr BP, with its clastic sediments derived from the Himalayas and SE Indian/Sri Lankan margins. The change in lithofacies from unit 2 to unit 1 suggests that the sediment deposition by turbidity current activity ceased in the distal Bengal Fan at approx. 12 sup(14)C kyr BP, perhaps because of the rapid rise in sea-level during the melt water pulse 1A and Holocene.
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