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Mid - Cretaceous climate and oceanography -towards extreme Greenhouse conditions

English title Mid - Cretaceous climate and oceanography -towards extreme Greenhouse conditions
Applicant Weissert Helmut
Number 132775
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Geologisches Institut ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.11.2010 - 31.10.2013
Approved amount 376'755.00
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Keywords (2)

greehouse cliamte; greenhouse climate, black shales, carbon cycle, Om

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Most extreme greenhouse climate conditions in the last 200 million years occurred during the Cretaceous time, between 120-80 Million years ago. Greenhouse climate pulses lasting thousands of years left their signature in sedimentary archives of the Cretaceous time. This study investigates impact of rapid climate change on oceanography and marine biota.
Lay summary
Mid-Cretaceous (120-90 million years) marine sediments from the former Tethys Ocean contain some of the best records of major climate perturbations and of response mechanisms of the biosphere to these perturbations. Greenhouse climate pulses, triggered by extreme volcanic activity, resulted in episodic black shale deposits on global scale, known as Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAE's). Several OAE's (OAE1a-1d) are recorded in sedimentary archives of Aptian-Albian age (120-100mio years), indicating that ocean conditions and climate were "unstable" during this time. A shift to more stable oceanic conditions occurred in the Latest Albian. The change in paleoceanography was accompanied by a progressive warming of low latitude climate. This shift from an "unstable ocean mode" to a more "stable ocean mode" seems related to changes in plate tectonics and opening or closing of seaways and it may have been related to a long-term rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Until today it remains debated why greenhouse pulses in the Aptian-Albian resulted in Oceanic Anoxia and unstable oceanography, while the long-term warming shifted oceanography into a stable mode. The study will improve our understanding of the complex interactions between climate change and perturbations of the global carbon cycle and their link to tectonically induced reorganization of oceanography.In part I of this study, the transition into Cenomanian greenhouse climate and into Cenomanian "chalk Seas" is traced in marine sediments of the alpine Tethys Seaway and the hypothesis that the opening of the equatorial Atlantic Gateway (EAG) triggered these changes is tested. Our new chemostratigraphic data along an East-West and North-South transect through the Alpine Tethys offer detailed information on timing of change to Cenomanian Oceans, while sedimentological investigations tell about changes in oceanography in pelagic and shelf settings.In part two of this study the hypothesis that climate and oceanography triggered a global change in Aptian-Cenomanian oceanography is tested. This project will focus on the eastern equatorial Arabian carbonate platform in Oman. The impact of climate, oceanography and sea level during time of major change will be traced in the Nahr Ur and Natih Formations. The Arabian carbonate system will be calibrated with Tethyan pelagic and neritic records and special focus will be given to black shale episodes.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 12.12.2012

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
C-isotope geochemistry–tool for chemostratigraphy and carbon cycle history
WEISSERT Helmut. (2013), C-isotope geochemistry–tool for chemostratigraphy and carbon cycle history, in Ciências da Terra , 2013, 18. Jg., 1-5.
Alpine sedimentology: An introduction and tribute to Albert Matter and Daniel Bernoulli.
Föllmi Karl B. Fritz Schlunegger and Helmut Weissert. (2013), Alpine sedimentology: An introduction and tribute to Albert Matter and Daniel Bernoulli., in Sedimentology , 60, 1-18.
Carbon-isotope stratigraphy of Early Cretaceous (Urgonian) shoal-water deposits: Diachronous changes in carbonate-platform production in the north-western Tethys.
Huck S. Heimhofer U. Immenhauser A. & Weissert H. (2013), Carbon-isotope stratigraphy of Early Cretaceous (Urgonian) shoal-water deposits: Diachronous changes in carbonate-platform production in the north-western Tethys., in Sedimentary Geology , 290, 157-174.
Chronostratigraphy and geochronology: A proposed realignment.
Zalasiewicz J. Cita M. B. Hilgen F. Pratt B. R. Strasser A. Thierry J. & Weissert H. (2013), Chronostratigraphy and geochronology: A proposed realignment., in GSA Today, . ISO 690 , 23(3), 4-8.
Climatic oscillations at the onset of the Mesozoic inferred from palynological records from the North Indian Margin
Hermann E. Hochuli P.A. Bucher H. Brühwiler T. Hautmann M. Ware D. Weis-sert H. Roohi (2013), Climatic oscillations at the onset of the Mesozoic inferred from palynological records from the North Indian Margin, in Journal of the Geological Society, 169, 227-237.
Evidence for atmospheric carbon injection during the end-Permian extinction.
Schneebeli-Hermann E.Kürschner W. M. Hochuli P. A. Ware D. Weissert H. Bernasconi S. M. (2013), Evidence for atmospheric carbon injection during the end-Permian extinction., in Geology, 41, 579-582.
Late Barremian–early Aptian climate of the northern middle latitudes: Stable isotope evidence from bivalve and cephalopod molluscs of the Russian Platform.
Zakharov Y. D. Baraboshkin E. Y. Weissert H. Michailova I. A. Smyshlyaeva O. P. & Safronov (2013), Late Barremian–early Aptian climate of the northern middle latitudes: Stable isotope evidence from bivalve and cephalopod molluscs of the Russian Platform., in Cretaceous Research., 44, 183-201.
Orbital control on carbon cycle and oceanography in the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse.
Giorgioni M. Weissert H. Bernasconi S.M. Hochuli P.A. Coccioni R. Keller C.E (2013), Orbital control on carbon cycle and oceanography in the mid-Cretaceous greenhouse., in Paleoceanography, 10, 1.
Sea‐water circulation on an oolite‐dominated carbonate system in an epeiric sea (Middle Jurassic, Switzerland).
Wetzel A. Weissert H. Schaub M. & Voegelin A. R. (2013), Sea‐water circulation on an oolite‐dominated carbonate system in an epeiric sea (Middle Jurassic, Switzerland)., in Sedimentology, 60, 19-35.
SStrontium and carbon isotope stratigraphy of the Late Jurassic shallow marine limestone in western Palaeo-Pacific, northwest Borneo.
Kakizaki Y. Weissert H. J. Hasegawa T. Ishikawa T. Matsuoka J. & Kano A. (2013), SStrontium and carbon isotope stratigraphy of the Late Jurassic shallow marine limestone in western Palaeo-Pacific, northwest Borneo., in Journal of Asian Earth Sciences., 73, 57-67.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Bas den Brok Oman (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Elisabetta Erba Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
9th International Symposium on the Cretaceous System Talk given at a conference 01.09.2013 Ankara, Turkey Weissert Helmut; Wohlwend Stephan;
International Association Sedimentologists Talk given at a conference 10.09.2012 Schladming, Austria Weissert Helmut; Wohlwend Stephan;
International Geological Congress Talk given at a conference 05.08.2012 Brisbane, Australia Weissert Helmut;
EGU Talk given at a conference 22.04.2012 Wien, Austria Wohlwend Stephan; Weissert Helmut;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Geologie und Klimaforschung German-speaking Switzerland 2012

Awards

Title Year
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck Medal , EGU Vienna 2013

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
149168 Cretaceous climate and oceanography 01.11.2013 Project funding
126563 Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate - in search for feedbacks between climate and oceanography 01.11.2009 Project funding
116112 Tectonics- an important driver of mid-Cretaceous climate 01.09.2007 Project funding
147139 Swiss participation in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) through membership in the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) 01.01.2014 Research Infrastructure
127716 The Early Triassic biotic recovery and climatic/oceanographic contraints 01.01.2010 Project funding
116112 Tectonics- an important driver of mid-Cretaceous climate 01.09.2007 Project funding

Abstract

Mid-Cretaceous sedimentary records provide multiple paleoclimatic evidence for extreme conditions of global warmth and for a high global sealevel. These climate conditions are explained by high levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and/or by the establishment of a new global oceanic circulation systems through opening/closing of oceanic gateways). A first step towards most extreme greenhouse climate and high sea level occurred in the Late Albian. In part I of this study (prolongation of SNF project 200020-116112), the transition into Cenomanian greenhouse climate and into Cenomanian “chalk Seas” is traced in marine sediments of the alpine Tethys Seaway and the hypothesis that the opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway (EAG) triggered these changes is tested. Our new chemostratigraphic data along an East-West and North-South transect through the Alpine Tethys offer detailed information on timing of change, while sedimentological investigations tell about changes in oceanography in pelagic and shelf settings. The transition from an ocean marked by high-frequency changes in surface-water and deep-water conditions to a more stable “chalk Sea” was accompanied by weakening of shelf current activity along the Northern Tethys. In the requested last PhD year, M. Giorgioni will complete his investigation of pelagic records, he will compare pelagic archives with Northern Tethys shelf (Helvetics, Briançonnais) records where microbialite facies is replaced by Cenomanian pelagic white foraminiferal limestones. Girogioni will reconstruct Tethyan oceanography during the Albian and during Cenomanian (“unstable” vs “stable” ocean). In addition to sedimentological and isotope studies, metal concentrations in microbialites and in potentially related pelagic black shale facies will be analysed with a x-ray fluorescence scanner as proxy for chemical water mass conditions. Part two of this study consists of a follow-up PhD-project, combined with a post-doctoral project testing the hypothesis that climate and oceanography triggered a global change in Aptian-Cenomanian oceanography. This project will focus on the eastern equatorial Arabian carbonate platform in Oman. The impact of climate, oceanography and sea level during predicted time of major change will be traced in the Nahr Ur and Natih Formations. The Arabian carbonate system will be calibrated with Tethyan pelagic and neritic records and special focus will be given to black shale episodes.
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