Distribution of benthic foraminifera in DSDP Hole 24-238 in the Central Indian Ocean (Appendix A)
Deep-sea benthic foraminifera have been quantitatively analyzed in samples (>125 µm size fraction) from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 238, to understand paleoceanographic changes in the Central Indian Basin over the past 1.9 Myr. Factor and cluster analyses of the 25 highest-ranked species made it possible to identify five biofacies, characterizing distinct deep-sea environmental settings. The environmental interpretation of each biofacies is based on the ecology of recent deep-sea benthic foraminifera. The benthic faunal record indicates fluctuating deep-sea conditions in environmental parameters including oxygenation, surface productivity and organic food supply. These changes appear to be linked to Indian summer monsoon variability, the main climatic feature of the Indian Ocean region. The benthic assemblages show a major shift at ~0.7 to 0.6 Ma, marked by major turnovers in the relative abundances of species, coinciding with an increased amplitude of glacial cycles. These cycles appear to have influenced low latitude monsoonal climate as well as deep-sea conditions in the Central Indian Ocean Basin.