The Hunt for Pristine Cretaceous Astronomical Rhythms at Demerara Rise (Cenomanian-Coniacian)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Chao Ma, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States and Stephen Richard Meyers, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, Geoscience, Madison, WI, United States
Rhythmic Upper Cretaceous strata from Demerara Rise (ODP leg 207) preserve a strong astronomical signature, and this attribute has facilitated the development of continuous astrochronologies to refine the geologic time scale and calibrate Late Cretaceous biogeochemical events. While the mere identification of astronomical rhythms is a crucial first step in many deep-time paleoceanographic investigations, accurate evaluation of often subtle amplitude and frequency modulations are required to: (1) robustly constrain the linkage between climate and sedimentation, and (2) evaluate the plausibility of different theoretical astrodynamical models. The availability of a wide range of geophysical, lithologic and geochemical data from multiple sites drilled at Demerara Rise – when coupled with recent innovations in the statistical analysis of cyclostratigraphic data – provides an opportunity to hunt for the most pristine record of Cretaceous astronomical rhythms at a tropical Atlantic location. To do so, a statistical metric is developed to evaluate the “internal” consistency of hypothesized astronomical rhythms observed in each data set, particularly with regard to the expected astronomical amplitude modulations. In this presentation, we focus on how the new analysis yields refinements to the existing astrochronologies, provides constraints on the linkages between climate and sedimentation (including the deposition of organic carbon-rich sediments at Demerara Rise), and allows a quantitative evaluation of the continuity of deposition across sites at multiple temporal scales.