Impact of Cretaceous Climate on Upwelling and Erosive Capacity of Transequatorial Current in the Tethys Seaway - Tales from Deep-Sea Sediments

Monday, 15 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Helmut Weissert, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland and Stephan Wohlwend, ETH Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Earth Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland
Early Cretaceous sedimentary archives from the Atlantic and Tethys Ocean record a reorganization of ocean circulation triggered by a further opening and deepening oft the Hispanic corridor. Nannofossil ooze, deposited in Atlantic and Tethys Oceans during earliest Cretaceous mirrors a stable equatorial circulation pattern with oligotrophic surface water conditions. Tethyan limestone-marlstone deposits and dark clays in the western North Atlantic mark reorganization of circulation pattern dominating Valanginian-Albian oceanography and favoring episodic black shale formation in Atlantic and Tethys Ocean. An east-west directed trans-equatorial current (TEC), coupled with equatorial upwelling and with varying erosive capacity was established (Hotinski and Toggweiler, Paleoceanography, 2003). Aptian sedimentary records from Tethys and Atlantic Oceans provide information on the sensitivity of the TEC to changing climate at times of perturbed carbon cycling as registered in the carbon isotope record. A greenhouse pulse defines the base of Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE) 1a, while available temperature and pCO2 records point at post-OAE1a cooling of climate. In the eastern Tethys (Oman Mts), the Aptian greenhouse pulse coincides with onset of chert deposits at a time of a shallowing CCD and of increased upwelling. Well-ventilated Pacific-type deep-water conditions prevented the formation of black shales in the deep Hawasina Basin (Oman Mts). Low oxygen or anoxic conditions, however, favored black shale formation in basinal settings of the Western Tethys and Atlantic Ocean. Frequent sedimentary gaps in basinal successions and erosive surfaces, sometimes phosphatized, on alpine Tethyan submarine highs and along the Northern Tethyan shelf provide evidence for increased erosive power of the TEC, reaching depths of up to 1000m or more. If increased erosive power of TEC was triggered by the greenhouse pulse or by post-OAE1a cooling remains to be tested.