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Dynamics of sediment flux to a bathyal continental margin section through the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum

Dynamics of sediment flux to a bathyal continental margin section through the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
Dynamics of sediment flux to a bathyal continental margin section through the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
The response of the Earth system to greenhouse-gas-driven warming is of critical importance for the future trajectory of our planetary environment. Hyperthermal events – past climate transients with global-scale warming significantly above background climate variability – can provide insights into the nature and magnitude of these responses. The largest hyperthermal of the Cenozoic was the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM ∼ 56Ma). Here we present new high-resolution bulk sediment stable isotope and major element data for the classic PETM section at Zumaia, Spain. With these data we provide a new detailed stratigraphic correlation to other key deep-ocean and terrestrial PETM reference sections. With this new correlation and age model we are able to demonstrate that detrital sediment accumulation rates within the Zumaia continental margin section increased more than 4-fold during the PETM, representing a radical change in regional hydrology that drove dramatic increases in terrestrial-to-marine sediment flux. Most remarkable is that detrital accumulation rates remain high throughout the body of the PETM, and even reach peak values during the recovery phase of the characteristic PETM carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Using a series of Earth system model inversions, driven by the new Zumaia carbon isotope record, we demonstrate that the silicate weathering feedback alone is insufficient to recover the PETM CIE, and that active organic carbon burial is required to match the observed dynamics of the CIE. Further, we demonstrate that the period of maximum organic carbon sequestration coincides with the peak in detrital accumulation rates observed at Zumaia. Based on these results, we hypothesise that orbital-scale variations in subtropical hydro-climates, and their subsequent impact on sediment dynamics, may contribute to the rapid climate and CIE recovery from peak-PETM conditions.
1814-9332
1035-1049
Dunkley Jones, Tom
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Manners, Hayley R.
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Hoggett, Murray
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Kirtland Turner, Sandra
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Westerhold, Thomas
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Leng, Melanie J.
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Pancost, Richard D.
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Ridgwell, Andy
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Alegret, Laia
136abd09-d497-410e-94ff-f018419f8a15
Duller, Rob
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Grimes, Stephen T.
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Dunkley Jones, Tom
f4025985-97e2-46c7-bff5-aaa45f9f8289
Manners, Hayley R.
3f515c77-e9d4-4374-ac4e-71df19507876
Hoggett, Murray
9e71d3be-4e9e-4417-af96-7d4139fb31a5
Kirtland Turner, Sandra
a6e8275b-cd0d-4a51-8e4f-7044ff7b0bcb
Westerhold, Thomas
7b499943-ba7a-40e8-ae35-797594908d30
Leng, Melanie J.
71755042-2b5f-44a6-8420-019f13a4a946
Pancost, Richard D.
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Ridgwell, Andy
769cea5c-e033-456a-8b53-51dfa307dc35
Alegret, Laia
136abd09-d497-410e-94ff-f018419f8a15
Duller, Rob
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Grimes, Stephen T.
480c4083-423f-41b1-8c40-24188c5bf827

Dunkley Jones, Tom, Manners, Hayley R., Hoggett, Murray, Kirtland Turner, Sandra, Westerhold, Thomas, Leng, Melanie J., Pancost, Richard D., Ridgwell, Andy, Alegret, Laia, Duller, Rob and Grimes, Stephen T. (2018) Dynamics of sediment flux to a bathyal continental margin section through the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Climate of the Past, 14 (7), 1035-1049. (doi:10.5194/cp-14-1035-2018).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The response of the Earth system to greenhouse-gas-driven warming is of critical importance for the future trajectory of our planetary environment. Hyperthermal events – past climate transients with global-scale warming significantly above background climate variability – can provide insights into the nature and magnitude of these responses. The largest hyperthermal of the Cenozoic was the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM ∼ 56Ma). Here we present new high-resolution bulk sediment stable isotope and major element data for the classic PETM section at Zumaia, Spain. With these data we provide a new detailed stratigraphic correlation to other key deep-ocean and terrestrial PETM reference sections. With this new correlation and age model we are able to demonstrate that detrital sediment accumulation rates within the Zumaia continental margin section increased more than 4-fold during the PETM, representing a radical change in regional hydrology that drove dramatic increases in terrestrial-to-marine sediment flux. Most remarkable is that detrital accumulation rates remain high throughout the body of the PETM, and even reach peak values during the recovery phase of the characteristic PETM carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Using a series of Earth system model inversions, driven by the new Zumaia carbon isotope record, we demonstrate that the silicate weathering feedback alone is insufficient to recover the PETM CIE, and that active organic carbon burial is required to match the observed dynamics of the CIE. Further, we demonstrate that the period of maximum organic carbon sequestration coincides with the peak in detrital accumulation rates observed at Zumaia. Based on these results, we hypothesise that orbital-scale variations in subtropical hydro-climates, and their subsequent impact on sediment dynamics, may contribute to the rapid climate and CIE recovery from peak-PETM conditions.

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 July 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 422694
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422694
ISSN: 1814-9332
PURE UUID: 86fec8b7-09b5-4494-8d26-89c36426bac5

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Date deposited: 31 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 05:31

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Contributors

Author: Tom Dunkley Jones
Author: Hayley R. Manners
Author: Murray Hoggett
Author: Sandra Kirtland Turner
Author: Thomas Westerhold
Author: Melanie J. Leng
Author: Richard D. Pancost
Author: Andy Ridgwell
Author: Laia Alegret
Author: Rob Duller
Author: Stephen T. Grimes

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