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3He in North Pacific Sediments

The noble gas record of deep-sea cores and land sections at geological boundaries allows fundamental linkages to be studied between extraterrestrial and terrestrial events. A comparison of the cosmic dust flux derived from ice cores to that from marine sediments is also of interest because it can shed light on the importance of sediment-focusing processes in the oceans, as well as possible global flux variations that can be useful for stratigraphic correlation. In addition, the 4He content of North Pacific sediments, far from continents and biologically productive regions, is a tracer of the amount of eolian (wind-borne) terrestrial dust. Helium isotopic variations in these red clay deposits may therefore allow variations in wind speed and direction during the last few tens of millions of years in the N Pacific to be deduced using 3He-derived accumulation rates.