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The Cenozoic palaeoenvironment of the Arctic Ocean

Record type: Article

The history of the Arctic Ocean during the Cenozoic era (0–65 million years ago) is largely unknown from direct evidence. Here we present a Cenozoic palaeoceanographic record constructed from >400 m of sediment core from a recent drilling expedition to the Lomonosov ridge in the Arctic Ocean. Our record shows a palaeoenvironmental transition from a warm ‘greenhouse’ world, during the late Palaeocene and early Eocene epochs, to a colder ‘icehouse’ world influenced by sea ice and icebergs from the middle Eocene epoch to the present. For the most recent ~14 Myr, we find sedimentation rates of 1–2 cm per thousand years, in stark contrast to the substantially lower rates proposed in earlier studies; this record of the Neogene reveals cooling of the Arctic that was synchronous with the expansion of Greenland ice (~3.2 Myr ago) and East Antarctic ice (~14 Myr ago). We find evidence for the first occurrence of ice-rafted debris in the middle Eocene epoch (~45 Myr ago), some 35 Myr earlier than previously thought; fresh surface waters were present at ~49 Myr ago, before the onset of ice-rafted debris. And the temperatures of surface waters during the Palaeocene/Eocene thermal maximum (~55 Myr ago) appear to have been substantially warmer than previously estimated. The revised timing of the earliest Arctic cooling events coincides with those from Antarctica, supporting arguments for bipolar symmetry in climate change.

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Citation

Moran, Kathryn, Backman, Jan, Brinkhuis, Henk, Clemens, Steven C., Cronin, Thomas, Dickens, Gerald R., Eynaud, Frédérique, Gattacceca, Jérôme, Jakobsson, Martin, Jordan, Richard W., Kaminski, Michael, King, John, Koc, Nalan, Krylov, Alexey, Martinez, Nahysa, Matthiessen, Jens, McInroy, David, Moore, Theodore C., Onodera, Jonaotaro, O'Regan, Matthew, Pälike, Heiko, Rea, Brice, Rio, Domenico, Sakamoto, Tatsuhiko, Smith, David C., Stein, Ruediger, St John, Kristen, Suto, Itsuki, Suzuki, Noritoshi, Takahashi, Kozo, Watanabe, Mahito, Yamamoto, Masanobu, Farrell, John, Frank, Martin, Kubik, Peter, Jokat, Wilfried and Kristoffersen, Yngve (2006) The Cenozoic palaeoenvironment of the Arctic Ocean Nature, 441, (7093), pp. 601-605. (doi:10.1038/nature04800).

More information

Submitted date: 4 August 2005
Published date: 1 June 2006

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 37716
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37716
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: 3caa5183-250d-406b-a2d4-09922f2fc3af

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Date deposited: 25 May 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:41

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Contributors

Author: Kathryn Moran
Author: Jan Backman
Author: Henk Brinkhuis
Author: Steven C. Clemens
Author: Thomas Cronin
Author: Gerald R. Dickens
Author: Frédérique Eynaud
Author: Jérôme Gattacceca
Author: Martin Jakobsson
Author: Richard W. Jordan
Author: Michael Kaminski
Author: John King
Author: Nalan Koc
Author: Alexey Krylov
Author: Nahysa Martinez
Author: Jens Matthiessen
Author: David McInroy
Author: Theodore C. Moore
Author: Jonaotaro Onodera
Author: Matthew O'Regan
Author: Heiko Pälike
Author: Brice Rea
Author: Domenico Rio
Author: Tatsuhiko Sakamoto
Author: David C. Smith
Author: Ruediger Stein
Author: Kristen St John
Author: Itsuki Suto
Author: Noritoshi Suzuki
Author: Kozo Takahashi
Author: Mahito Watanabe
Author: Masanobu Yamamoto
Author: John Farrell
Author: Martin Frank
Author: Peter Kubik
Author: Wilfried Jokat
Author: Yngve Kristoffersen

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