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Volume 14, issue 3 | Copyright
Clim. Past, 14, 303-319, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 Mar 2018

Research article | 08 Mar 2018

Synchronizing early Eocene deep-sea and continental records – cyclostratigraphic age models for the Bighorn Basin Coring Project drill cores

Thomas Westerhold1, Ursula Röhl1, Roy H. Wilkens2, Philip D. Gingerich3, William C. Clyde4, Scott L. Wing5, Gabriel J. Bowen6, and Mary J. Kraus7 Thomas Westerhold et al.
  • 1MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, 28359, Germany
  • 2Hawaii Institute of Geophysics & Planetology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA
  • 3Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-1079, USA
  • 4Department of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, 56 College Rd., Durham, NH 03824, USA
  • 5Department of Paleobiology, P.O. Box 37012, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20013 USA
  • 6Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
  • 7Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, UCB 399, Boulder, CO 80309, USA

Abstract. A consistent chronostratigraphic framework is required to understand the effect of major paleoclimate perturbations on both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Transient global warming events in the early Eocene, at 56–54Ma, show the impact of large-scale carbon input into the ocean–atmosphere system. Here we provide the first timescale synchronization of continental and marine deposits spanning the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and the interval just prior to the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (ETM-2). Cyclic variations in geochemical data come from continental drill cores of the Bighorn Basin Coring Project (BBCP, Wyoming, USA) and from marine deep-sea drilling deposits retrieved by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). Both are dominated by eccentricity-modulated precession cycles used to construct a common cyclostratigraphic framework. Integration of age models results in a revised astrochronology for the PETM in deep-sea records that is now generally consistent with independent 3He age models. The duration of the PETM is estimated at ∼ 200kyr for the carbon isotope excursion and ∼ 120kyr for the associated pelagic clay layer. A common terrestrial and marine age model shows a concurrent major change in marine and terrestrial biota ∼ 200kyr before ETM-2. In the Bighorn Basin, the change is referred to as Biohorizon B and represents a period of significant mammalian turnover and immigration, separating the upper Haplomylus–Ectocion Range Zone from the Bunophorus Interval Zone and approximating the Wa-4–Wa-5 land mammal zone boundary. In sediments from ODP Site 1262 (Walvis Ridge), major changes in the biota at this time are documented by the radiation of a second generation of apical spine-bearing sphenolith species (e.g., S. radians and S. editus), the emergence of T. orthostylus, and the marked decline of D. multiradiatus.

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Here we present a high-resolution timescale synchronization of continental and marine deposits for one of the most pronounced global warming events, the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum, which occurred 56 million years ago. New high-resolution age models for the Bighorn Basin Coring Project (BBCP) drill cores help to improve age models for climate records from deep-sea drill cores and for the first time point to a concurrent major change in marine and terrestrial biota 54.25 million years ago.
Here we present a high-resolution timescale synchronization of continental and marine deposits...