Dynamic, Large-Magnitude CCD Changes in the Atlantic During the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
The Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO; ~40.1 Ma) is a transient global warming event that abruptly reversed the long-term Eocene cooling trend. The primary driving mechanism(s) must be linked to a CO2 increase; however, geochemical modeling experiments show that prevailing hypotheses are incompatible with the paleoclimate record. To further examine changes in deep-sea carbonate burial, we identify the MECO for the first time at ODP Site 929 (Equatorial Atlantic; ~3935 m paleodepth) and present new lithological and geochemical data for this site, including benthic foraminiferal stable isotopes (δ18O and δ13C), XRF scanning data, and an orbitally tuned age model. We combine these records with data from a suite of Atlantic sites to form a depth transect between ~2-4 km (DSDP Site 523, ODP Site 1260 and 1263, IODP Site U1404) representing the first detailed record of carbonate dissolution in the Atlantic spanning the MECO. This compilation reveals dissolution at water depths as shallow as ~2 km (>1 km shallower than previous estimates) with multiple and discrete short-lived (<100 kyr) phases of carbonate compensation depth (CCD) shoaling during and after the event. Careful reevaluation of the Pacific CCD records combined with new results suggests similar short-term variability and magnitude of shoaling globally. These data provide new constraints on carbon release history during the MECO and, potentially, the forcing mechanisms for warming. The transient CCD shoaling events indicate multiple pulses of carbon input and acidification decoupled from deep-sea δ18O and δ13C records, indicating that these events must not have been driven directly by changes in temperature or carbon burial/storage – potentially reconciling some of the data–model discrepancies.