Deep-Sea Pleistocene Biostratigraphy

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Science  16 Dec 1966:
Vol. 154, Issue 3755, pp. 1448-1452
DOI: 10.1126/science.154.3755.1448


The first detailed paleontological analysis of a deep-sea pistoncore from the Caribbean Sea has been completed. The core, P6304-8, was raised from 3927 meters, east of Beata Ridge at 14°59'N, 69°20'W. Formerly, stratigraphic works in this area were based on studies of paleotemperature, measured by the oxygen isotope mass spectrometry method, or on micropaleontological analysis by means of rapid or cursory examinations. For core P6304-8, samples for foraminiferal analysis were taken at 10-centimeter intervals and split into smaller samples containing an average of 710 individuals (smallest sample, 517 individuals); all individuals were then identified and counted. By use of data derived from populations of this size, a statistical reliability was insured within a 5 percent limnit. Temperature oscillations, the best method of portraying Pleistocene stratigraphy, were shown by using ratios of the relative abundances of tropical and subtropical planktonic foraminifera to those found in temperate and cooler waters. These ratios correlate well with existing paleotemperature measurements for the same core, obtained by the oxygen isotope mass spectrometry method.