** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 50 society members.

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    Interdisciplinary research


    Multiproxy sedimentological and geochemical analyses across the Lower–Middle Pleistocene boundary: Chemostratigraphy and paleoenvironment of the Chiba composite section, central Japan

    Izumi K, Haneda Y, Suganuma Y, Okada M, Kubota Y, Nishida N, Kawamata M, Matsuzaki T

    Chemostratigraphy, Chiba composite section, GSSP, Kokumoto Formation, Organic matter, Paleoenvironment, Pleistocene, Trace fossils, XRF

    Temporal change in paleoenvironmental parameters from MIS20 to MIS18 from the CbCS.

    The Chiba composite section (CbCS) in the Kokumoto Formation, Kazusa Group, central Japan is a thick and continuous marine succession that straddles the Lower–Middle Pleistocene boundary and the well-recognized Matuyama–Brunhes paleomagnetic polarity boundary. Although recent studies extensively investigated the CbCS, its chemostratigraphy, particularly around the Lower–Middle Pleistocene boundary, is poorly understood. Therefore, in this study, we performed multiproxy sedimentological and geochemical analyses of the CbCS, including the Chiba section, which is the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for defining the base of the Middle Pleistocene Subseries. The aim of these analyses is to establish the high-resolution chemostratigraphy and to reconstruct the paleoenvironments of its sedimentary basin in detail. We used the K/Ti ratio as a broad proxy for the clastic material grain size of the sediments. Although the K/Ti ratio generally varies throughout the studied interval, the K/Ti ratio especially during Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 19a shows a variation pattern like those of the foraminiferal oxygen isotope (δ18O) records. The records of the C/N ratio of bulk samples and carbon isotope ratio of the organic carbon (δ13Corg) suggest that the organic matter in the CbCS sediments during MIS 19c mostly originated from marine plankton, whereas the organic matter during MIS 18 and 19a was characterized by a mixture of marine plankton and terrestrial plants. These records are clearly indicative of changes in mixing ratio of marine vs. terrestrial organic matter in association with glacial–interglacial cycles from the late MIS 20 to the early MIS 18. In addition, we calculated the mass accumulation rates (MARs) of organic carbon, biogenic carbonate, and terrigenous material for quantitative interpretations on the paleoenvironmental changes. MAR calculations revealed that the contribution of marine organic carbon relative to terrestrial organic carbon increased during MIS 19c, and that the contribution of the terrigenous material relative to biogenic carbonate decreased during MIS 19c. Furthermore, we observed relatively large variations in the total organic carbon and total nitrogen contents during MIS 19a. These variations were probably caused by the relative decrease in bottom-water oxygen level, which is also supported by our trace-fossil data, although it is not certain whether the increase in organic-carbon flux at ~ 760 ka was due to the synchronous increase in biogenic productivity in surface water. Such a relative decrease in bottom-water oxygen level was partly due to the increased ocean stratification because of the northward displacement of the Kuroshio Extension Front.