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Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study

Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study
Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study
Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) have been emplaced throughout Earth's history, erupting great quantities (>104 km3>104 km3) of lava in long-lived (>105 y>105 y) events that have been linked to major environmental disruptions. The largest LIP eruptions (e.g. Siberian Traps) are widely considered to have had an impact on global climate through basalt CO2 degassing but the impact of the more numerous smaller LIPs is debated. Here we test the hypothesis that LIPs had a greater impact on Earth's climate history than previously estimated because of the ‘cryptic degassing’ of intruded and crust-contaminated magma, injecting extra CO2 over and above that coming from sub-aerial basalts. We use biogeochemical box models to investigate the potential impact of the Columbia River Basalts (CRB) during the mid-Miocene where multiple palaeorecords for this geologically relatively recent event enable more rigorous data-model comparison. We find that the effect on the long-term carbon cycle of basalt degassing from the CRB alone is negligible, but that a total CRB emission of 4090–5670 Pg of carbon with 3000–4000 Pg of this carbon emitted during the Grande Ronde Basalt eruptions, a flux within the acceptable estimated range when cryptic degassing is included, does well in reproducing the record of benthic ? 13C and atmospheric CO2 change during the core of the Miocene Climatic Optimum. Nevertheless, mechanisms other than degassing are required to drive observed warmth before 16.3 Ma and to match observed calcite compensation depth behaviour after ?15.4 Ma?15.4 Ma. Hence, our findings rule out the possibility that CRB emplacement alone can fully explain the mid-Miocene record but they demonstrate the enhanced climate impact that occurs when substantial cryptic degassing accompanies LIP emplacement.
mid-Miocene, Columbia River Basalt, Large Igneous Province, cryptic degassing, climate change, volcanic degassing
0012-821X
254-262
Armstrong Mckay, David I.
9e7fc75d-311e-4980-9911-288d965a9e56
Tyrrell, Toby
6808411d-c9cf-47a3-88b6-c7c294f2d114
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Foster, Gavin L.
fbaa7255-7267-4443-a55e-e2a791213022
Armstrong Mckay, David I.
9e7fc75d-311e-4980-9911-288d965a9e56
Tyrrell, Toby
6808411d-c9cf-47a3-88b6-c7c294f2d114
Wilson, Paul A.
f940a9f0-fa5a-4a64-9061-f0794bfbf7c6
Foster, Gavin L.
fbaa7255-7267-4443-a55e-e2a791213022

Armstrong Mckay, David I., Tyrrell, Toby, Wilson, Paul A. and Foster, Gavin L. (2014) Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 403, 254-262.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) have been emplaced throughout Earth's history, erupting great quantities (>104 km3>104 km3) of lava in long-lived (>105 y>105 y) events that have been linked to major environmental disruptions. The largest LIP eruptions (e.g. Siberian Traps) are widely considered to have had an impact on global climate through basalt CO2 degassing but the impact of the more numerous smaller LIPs is debated. Here we test the hypothesis that LIPs had a greater impact on Earth's climate history than previously estimated because of the ‘cryptic degassing’ of intruded and crust-contaminated magma, injecting extra CO2 over and above that coming from sub-aerial basalts. We use biogeochemical box models to investigate the potential impact of the Columbia River Basalts (CRB) during the mid-Miocene where multiple palaeorecords for this geologically relatively recent event enable more rigorous data-model comparison. We find that the effect on the long-term carbon cycle of basalt degassing from the CRB alone is negligible, but that a total CRB emission of 4090–5670 Pg of carbon with 3000–4000 Pg of this carbon emitted during the Grande Ronde Basalt eruptions, a flux within the acceptable estimated range when cryptic degassing is included, does well in reproducing the record of benthic ? 13C and atmospheric CO2 change during the core of the Miocene Climatic Optimum. Nevertheless, mechanisms other than degassing are required to drive observed warmth before 16.3 Ma and to match observed calcite compensation depth behaviour after ?15.4 Ma?15.4 Ma. Hence, our findings rule out the possibility that CRB emplacement alone can fully explain the mid-Miocene record but they demonstrate the enhanced climate impact that occurs when substantial cryptic degassing accompanies LIP emplacement.

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More information

Published date: 1 October 2014
Keywords: mid-Miocene, Columbia River Basalt, Large Igneous Province, cryptic degassing, climate change, volcanic degassing
Organisations: Geochemistry, Ocean and Earth Science, Paleooceanography & Palaeoclimate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 367410
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/367410
ISSN: 0012-821X
PURE UUID: 30b29b07-bfcd-4e84-9c36-7cfc170bdd10
ORCID for David I. Armstrong Mckay: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0020-7461
ORCID for Toby Tyrrell: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1002-1716

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 Jul 2014 14:10
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:03

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Contributors

Author: David I. Armstrong Mckay ORCID iD
Author: Toby Tyrrell ORCID iD
Author: Paul A. Wilson
Author: Gavin L. Foster

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