Subdecadally resolved paleoceanography of the Peru margin during the last two millennia

Rajesh Agnihotri, Mark A. Altabet, Timothy D. Herbert, Jessica E. Tierney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Using multiproxy sediment core data from the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-sensitive Peru margin, subdecadally resolved (down to ∼0.6 year) surface productivity and subsurface denitrification are reconstructed for the last ∼2300 years. Scanning XRF generated major elemental data (Ti, Fe, Si) correlate well with discrete inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectometry (ICP-AES) analyses and together with X-radiography (core density) are used as productivity indices. As surface productivity in this marine region is strongly impacted by ENSO, higher (lower) periods of surface productivity are inferred to represent a persistent normal/La Niña (El Niño)-like state. Surface productivity and subsurface denitrification appear to have remained intimately coupled during this period due to direct stimulation of requisite subsurface suboxia and/or hydrographic restructuring. The late Holocene Peru margin is characterized by persistent moderate productivity and subsurface denitrification punctuated at centennial scale by shorter-duration periods of high production and intense denitrification. These centennial-scale events are likely analogous to modern observations of decadal-scale "regime shifts" but of higher amplitude and provide a background history for future natural changes to this system. Solar (irradiance) variability is suggested to have influenced Peru productivity as evidenced in numerous high-resolution paleorecords from the northern hemisphere. copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberQ05013
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Peru margin
  • Solar forcing
  • Subsurface denitrification
  • Surface productivity
  • X-radiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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