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Dynamics of sediment flux to a bathyal continental margin section through the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035-1049
Number of pages15
JournalClimate of the Past
Volume14
Issue number7
Early online date11 Jul 2018
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Jun 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jul 2018
DatePublished (current) - Jul 2018

Abstract

The response of the Earth system to greenhouse-gas-driven warming is of critical importance for the future trajectory of our planetary environment. Hyperthermal events - past climate transients with global-scale warming significantly above background climate variability - can provide insights into the nature and magnitude of these responses. The largest hyperthermal of the Cenozoic was the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM ∼ 56 Ma). Here we present new high-resolution bulk sediment stable isotope and major element data for the classic PETM section at Zumaia, Spain. With these data we provide a new detailed stratigraphic correlation to other key deep-ocean and terrestrial PETM reference sections. With this new correlation and age model we are able to demonstrate that detrital sediment accumulation rates within the Zumaia continental margin section increased more than 4-fold during the PETM, representing a radical change in regional hydrology that drove dramatic increases in terrestrial-to-marine sediment flux. Most remarkable is that detrital accumulation rates remain high throughout the body of the PETM, and even reach peak values during the recovery phase of the characteristic PETM carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Using a series of Earth system model inversions, driven by the new Zumaia carbon isotope record, we demonstrate that the silicate weathering feedback alone is insufficient to recover the PETM CIE, and that active organic carbon burial is required to match the observed dynamics of the CIE. Further, we demonstrate that the period of maximum organic carbon sequestration coincides with the peak in detrital accumulation rates observed at Zumaia. Based on these results, we hypothesise that orbital-scale variations in subtropical hydro-climates, and their subsequent impact on sediment dynamics, may contribute to the rapid climate and CIE recovery from peak-PETM conditions.

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Copernicus at https://www.clim-past.net/14/1035/2018/ . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Copernicus at https://www.clim-past.net/14/1035/2018/ . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 127 KB, multipart/x-zip

    Licence: CC BY

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