A CO2 decrease-driven cooling and increased latitudinal temperature gradient during the mid-Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2

Jaap S. Sinninghe Damste, Elisabeth C. van Bentum, Gert-Jan Reichart, Joerg Pross, Stefan Schouten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The mid-Cretaceous is thought to be a greenhouse world with significantly higher atmospheric pCO(2) and sea-surface temperatures as well as a much flatter latitudinal thermal gradient compared to the present. This time interval was punctuated by the Cenomanian/Turonian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE-2, similar to 93.5 Myr ago), an episode of global, massive organic carbon burial that likely resulted in a large and abrupt pCO2 decline. However, the climatic consequences of this pCO(2) drop are yet poorly constrained. We determined the first, high-resolution sea-surface temperature (SST) record across OAE-2 from a deep-marine sedimentary sequence at Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1276 in the mid-latitudinal Newfoundland Basin, NW Atlantic. By employing the organic palaeothermometer TEX86, we found that SSTs across the OAE-2 interval were extremely high, but were punctuated by a remarkably large cooling (5-11 degrees C), which is synchronous with the 2.5-5.5 degrees C cooling in SST records from equatorial Atlantic sites, and the "Plenus Cold Event". Because this global cooling event is concurrent with increased organic carbon burial, it likely acted in response to the associated pCO(2) drop. Our findings imply a substantial increase in the latitudinal SST gradient in the proto-North Atlantic during this period of global cooling and reduced atmospheric pCO(2), suggesting a strong coupling between pCO(2) and latitudinal thermal gradients under greenhouse climate conditions. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume293
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2010

Keywords

  • Newfoundland basin
  • Ocean Drilling Program Site 1276
  • TEX86 palaeothermometry
  • Organic carbon burial
  • Sea-surface temperature

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