Environmental magnetic implications of magnetofossil occurrence during the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO) in pelagic sediments from the equatorial Indian Ocean
Savian et al
Magnetic properties of pelagic marine sediments that record the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO) at ~ 40 Ma provide information about major environmental changes. The main variations observed during this transient warming event reflect a bacterial magnetofossil signal, but the cause of the linkage between bacterial production and climate remains unclear. We present an environmental magnetic study of middle Eocene deep-sea sediments from the northern edge of Madingley Rise (Ocean Drilling Program Hole 711A, equatorial Indian Ocean) to investigate the origin of the increased magnetic mineral concentration concomitant with subchron C18n.2n, which corresponds to the MECO interval in ODP Hole 711A. This magnetic mineral peak also coincides with a change in lithofacies from calcareous nannofossils to radiolarian ooze, and a slight increase in clay concentration. Magnetite is the main magnetic mineral in the MECO sediments, which occurs as magnetically non-interacting single domain biogenic particles. The increased magnetic mineral concentration across the MECO event is likely to have been caused by increased eolian iron fertilization. This is interpreted to have given rise to increased surface ocean productivity, where increased delivery of iron and nutrients to the seafloor enhanced magnetotactic bacterial populations during the MECO event.