Multiproxy record of abrupt sea-surface cooling across the Eocene-Oligocene transition in the Gulf of Mexico

Bridget S. Wade, Alexander J.P. Houben, Willemijn Quaijtaal, Stefan Schouten, Yair Rosenthal, Kenneth G. Miller, Miriam E. Katz, James D. Wright, Henk Brinkhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT; ca. 33-34 Ma) was a time of pronounced climatic change, marked by the establishment of continental-scale Antarctic ice sheets. The timing and extent of temperature change associated with the EOT is controversial. Here we present multiproxy EOT climate records (~15-34 k.y. resolution) from St. Stephens Quarry, Alabama, USA, derived from foraminiferal Mg/Ca, 18O, and TEX86. We constrain sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) in the latest Eocene and early Oligocene and address the issue of climatic cooling during the EOT. Paleotemperatures derived from planktic foraminifera Mg/Ca and TEX86 are remarkably consistent and indicate late Eocene subtropical SSTs of >28 °C. There was substantial and accelerated cooling of SSTs (3-4 °C) through the latest Eocene "precursor" 18O shift (EOT-1), prior to Oligocene Isotope-1 (Oi-1). Our multispecies planktic foraminiferal 18O records diverge at the E/O boundary (33.7 Ma), signifying enhanced seasonality in the earliest Oligocene in the Gulf of Mexico.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology

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