Saturday, January 02, 2016

Global Change Across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition

Global change across the Oligocene-Miocene Transition: High-resolution stable isotope records from IODP Site U1334 (equatorial Pacific Ocean)


Beddow et al


The Oligocene – Miocene Transition (OMT) (~23 Ma) is interpreted as a transient global cooling event, associated with a large-scale Antarctic ice sheet expansion. Here, we present a 2.23 Myr long high-resolution (~3 kyr) benthic foraminiferal oxygen and carbon isotope (δ18O and δ13C) record from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site U1334 (eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean), covering the interval from 21.91 to 24.14 Ma. To date, five other high-resolution benthic foraminiferal stable isotope stratigraphies across this time-interval have been published, showing a ~1‰ increase in benthic foraminiferal δ18O across the OMT. However, these records are still few and spatially limited and no clear understanding exists of the global versus local imprints. We show that trends and the amplitudes of change are similar at Site U1334 as in other high-resolution stable isotope records, suggesting that these represent global deep-water signals. We create a benthic foraminiferal stable isotope stack across the OMT by combining Site U1334 with records from ODP Sites 926, 929, 1090, 1264 and 1218 to best approximate the global signal. We find that isotopic gradients between sites indicate inter- and intra-basinal variability in deep-water masses, and in particular note an offset between the equatorial Atlantic and the equatorial Pacific, suggesting that a distinct temperature gradient was present during the OMT between these deep water masses at low latitudes. A convergence in the δ18O values between infaunal and epifaunal species occurs between 22.8 and 23.2 Ma, associated with the maximum δ18O excursion at the OMT, suggesting climatic changes associated with the OMT had an effect on interspecies offsets of benthic foraminifera. Our data indicates a maximum glacioeustatic sea level change of ~50 m across the OMT.

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