Climate responses and changes in marine environments during the last deglaciation have been controversial and few paleoceanographic data are available from the tropical South Pacific, though this region is crucial in the investigations of ocean-atmosphere interactions. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 310 was conducted to establish the time course of the postglacial sea-level rise at Tahiti in the South Pacific. A principal objective of this expedition was to examine the variation of marine environments during the last deglaciation. As fossil Porites coral is ideal for assessing past marine environments, we selected only Porites specimens from the many coral specimens retrieved, examined them by XRD, and dated them by the 14C method. In all, we obtained 17 pristine Porites specimens composed of only aragonite with ages from 15 to 9 ka. Then, we measured Mg/Ca, Ba/Ca, and U/Ca ratios and Cd contents as proxies for upwelling and sea surface temperature. Higher Ba/Ca ratios and Cd content together with lower reconstructed SSTs using U/Ca ratios in the coral specimens between 12.6 and 9.8 cal ka compared to around 15 cal ka suggest that upwelling and/or entrainment of subsurface water into mixed layer was enhanced around Tahiti during this period. This finding is consistent with previous reports and supports the idea that the South Pacific was characterized by La Niña-like conditions at least from 12.6 to 9.8 cal ka.
- fossil coral