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Tectonics- an important driver of mid-Cretaceous climate

English title Tectonics- an important driver of mid-Cretaceous climate
Applicant Weissert Helmut
Number 116112
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Geologisches Institut ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.09.2007 - 30.09.2010
Approved amount 162'636.00
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Keywords (10)

Paleoclimate; Paleoceamography; Cretaceous; angiosperms; oceanic gateways; tectonics; climate; carbon cycle; paleoceanography; carbon dioxide

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Mesozoic climate change is mainly driven by changes in orbital parameters, by variations in atmospheric CO2 related to volcanism and by the opening and closing of oceanic gateways. In our SNF project 200020-105326/1 (“The Oxfordian - a major turning point in Mesozoic Paleoceanography") we documented that the opening and deepening of an oceanic gateway, the Hispanic corridor, triggered major changes in Jurassic oceanography and climate. In this study we will test climate simulations, which predict a major change in climate and in ocean circulation upon the opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway (EAG) during the Albian-Cenomanian. Climate models indicate that Albian-Cenomanian warming was, at least in part, triggered by the progressive opening of the Eastern Equatorial Gateway (EAG). These models also predict considerable changes in oceanography. According to the model by Poulsen et al. (2003) the western Tethys Seaway belonged to the regions which were most affected by the opening of EAG. The post-EAG opening Tethys oceanography was marked by a positive temperature anomaly and by considerable changes in Tethys-Atlantic water flow. Albian-Cenomanian pelagic sedimentary successions from the western Tethys indeed record significant changes in circulation pattern (e.g. Scaglia Variegata-Scaglia Bianca). We will investigate with sedimentological and isotope geochemical methods if these changes can be related to the opening of the EAG or to local Tethyan changes in oceanography. We will compare western Tethys paleoceanography and climate with regional climate trends in southwestern Iberia, where model calculations indicate a significant post-EAG opening warming. There, marginal marine successions in Portugal will provide sedimentological and palynological information on evolving climate during the time slice of interest. These successions also record the evolution, timing and spatial differentiation of angiosperm-dominated ecosystems. The fundamental change from gymnosperm dominated to an angiosperm dominated vegetation occurred between Late Albian and early Cenomanian. We will investigate if these evolutionary trends can be related to changes in Albian-Cenomanian climate pattern.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
105326 The Oxfordian - a major turning point in Mesozoic Paleoceanography 01.11.2004 Project funding
132775 Mid - Cretaceous climate and oceanography -towards extreme Greenhouse conditions 01.11.2010 Project funding
149168 Cretaceous climate and oceanography 01.11.2013 Project funding
132775 Mid - Cretaceous climate and oceanography -towards extreme Greenhouse conditions 01.11.2010 Project funding

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