CARIACO: MESSAGES FROM PREHISTORY
Developing project
Executive producer: Ana Cristina Henríquez


The Cariaco Basin is a depression of the earth's crust in the continental platform in eastern Venezuela. It is the largest anoxic (lacking oxygen) truly oceanic basin and it represents an important complement to chemical oceanography studies in the Black Sea; it is a unique formation in the world, in the sense that it acts as a container where it is possible to quantify organic material and the carbon exchange in the water column between the atmosphere and the bottom.

This is why Cariaco, to the international scientific community, means "CArbon Retention In A Colored Ocean", an ambitious international project, aimed towards studying the carbon cycle in productive tropical coast areas and weather changes worldwide, in which stations in Bermuda and Hawaii take part.

Studying the marine sediments of the Basin, scientists have found a record of weather changes in the world since prehistory. The last 15,000 years are clearly represented, and this record has been used to reconstruct changes in the superficial circulation rate of the Atlantic Ocean during that period of time. Cariaco sediments are being used to generate a record of the ocean's superficial temperature in the last millennium, and the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), whose studies date records back to up to 600,000 years, suggest that modern sedimentation patterns also took place in the interglacial periods.

Another key importance of the sedimentary record in Cariaco is its location in the Tropics; there is evidence that the Tropics play an important role in global weather changes, influencing the hydrological balance between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and between high and low latitudes, and consequently, in the general circulation of the oceans.

We invite you to enter into this global project.


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