Most of the helium-3 in oceanic sediments conies from interplanetary dust particles (IDPs), and can therefore be used to infer the accretion rate of dust to the Earth through time (Ozima et al., 1984, doi:10.1038/311448a0; Takayanagi and Ozima, 1987, doi:10.1029/JB092iB12p12531; Farley, 1995, doi:10.1038/376153a0). 3He records from slowly accumulating pelagic clays indicate that the accretion rate varies considerably over millions of years, probably owing to cometary and asteroidal break-up events3. Muller and MacDonald have proposed (Muller and MacDonald, 1995, doi:10.1038/377107b0) that periodic changes in this accretion rate due to a previously unrecognized 100-kyr periodicity in the Earth's orbital inclination might account for the prominence of this frequency in climate records of the past million years (Imbrie et al., 1993, doi:10.1029/93PA02751). Here we report variations in the 3He flux to the sea floor that support this idea. We find that the flux recorded in rapidly accumulating Quaternary sediments from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge oscillates with a period of about 100 kyr. We cannot yet say, however, whether the 100-kyr climate cycle is a consequence of, a cause of, or an effect independent of these periodic changes in the rate of delivery of interplanetary dust to the sea floor.
94-607; Accumulation rate, mass; AGE; Age, maximum/old; Age, minimum/young; Calculated; Deep Sea Drilling Project; DRILL; Drilling/drill rig; DSDP; DSDP/ODP/IODP sample designation; Glomar Challenger; Helium-3; Helium-3, extraterrestrial; Helium-3, flux; Helium-3, flux, standard deviation; Helium-3, standard deviation; Helium-3/Helium-4; Helium-3/Helium-4, standard deviation; Leg94; North Atlantic/FLANK; Number of cycles; Sample amount; Sample code/label; Sample code/label 2
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