Project

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Cretaceous climate and oceanography

English title Cretaceous climate and oceanography
Applicant Weissert Helmut
Number 149168
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Geologisches Institut ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.11.2013 - 30.09.2014
Approved amount 60'720.00
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Keywords (7)

carbon isotopes; Paleoceanography; Cretaceous; greenhouse climate; Tethys; carbon cycle; Oman Mountains

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Treibhausklima in der Erdgeschichte - Lektionen aus der geologischen Vergangenheit schärfen den Blick in die Zukunft
Lay summary
Mit der beschleunigten Verbrennung fossiler Brennstoffe verändert die Menschheit den globalen Kohlenstoff-Haushalt. Erhöhte Kohlendioxidwerte in der Atmosphäre werden zu Klimaveränderungen, zu Änderungen in der Ozeanchemie, zu einem Anstieg des globalen Meeresspiegels führen. Klimatologen werfen mit ihren Modellen einen Blick in die Klimazukunft des Planten Erde, Geologen suchen nach Treibhauszeiten in der Erdgeschichte, die Auskunft über über Zusammenhänge zwischen Kohlenstoffkreislauf, Atmosphärenzusammensetzung, Ozeanographie und Leben geben können. Interessant sind in diesem Zusammenhang die grossen "Oceanic Anoxic Events" (OAE's) in der Kreidezeit, das waren Episoden in der Ozeangeschichte wo über Jahrtausende Sedimente mit hohem Kohlenstoffgehalt unter extremem Treibhausklima abgelagert wurden. In unserem Projekt studieren wir die Veränderungen de Ozeanographie, welche als Resultat von extremen Kohlendioxidpulsen in der Atmosphäre zu betrachten sind. Unsere Untersuchungsgebiet in Oman speichert die Ozeangeschichte am Übergang des Tethys-Meers zum frühen Indischen Ozean. In den Gesteinsarchiven fixen wir Hinweise, das im Info-Pazifik der Kreidezeit Schwarzschieferablagerungen der OAE's fehlen und dass an Stelle der Schwarzschiefer kieselige Ablagerungen mit hohem Anteilen ein Radiolarien abgelagert wurden. Dies Erkenntnisse zwingen uns, die ozeanographischen Modelle der Kreidezeit u revidieren. Extreme Treibhauspulse hatten Veränderungen in den ozeanischen Strömungsmustern zu folge, ebenso führe verstärktes Upwelling zu hoher mariner Planktonproduktivität und zu einer Verbreitung kiesliger Organismen. Erhöhte marine Produktivität und vermehrte Vergabung von Zellmaterial und damit Kohlendioxid  hat nach Jahrzehntausenden  einen stabilisierenden Einfluss aufs Globalklima gehabt. Das Klimasystem sprang nach einer starken Störung des Kohlenstoffkreislaufs in geologisch kurzer Zeit  einen "Treibhausmodus", die Stabilisierung des Klimas dauerte hingegen viel länger. 
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.11.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A Late Jurasssic to Cretaceous sedimentological and chemostratigraphic transect trough the Oman Mountains; from the Arabian Platform into the Hawasina Basin
Wohlwend S. et al. (2014), A Late Jurasssic to Cretaceous sedimentological and chemostratigraphic transect trough the Oman Mountains; from the Arabian Platform into the Hawasina Basin.
Expression of the late Aptian cold snaps and the OAE1b in a highly subsiding carbonate platform (Aralar, northern Spain)
Millán M. I. Weissert H. J. and M. A. López-Horgue (2014), Expression of the late Aptian cold snaps and the OAE1b in a highly subsiding carbonate platform (Aralar, northern Spain), in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology , 411 , 167-179.
Current intensification during Cretaceous OAE2 - Evidences from the Northern Tethys,
Wohlwend S. Weissert H., Current intensification during Cretaceous OAE2 - Evidences from the Northern Tethys,, in Terra Nova.
New insight into the Cretaceous OAE’s from the south-eastern Tethyan Oman Mountains - A bridge between the Pacific and the Tethys/Atlantic
Wohlwend S. et al., New insight into the Cretaceous OAE’s from the south-eastern Tethyan Oman Mountains - A bridge between the Pacific and the Tethys/Atlantic.

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

Awards

Title Year
Helmut Weissert: Goldene Eule 2014 for best teaching in the Department ERDW, ETH Zürich Helmut Weissert: Distinguished Lecturer 2014-2015, International Association of Sedimentologists 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
132775 Mid - Cretaceous climate and oceanography -towards extreme Greenhouse conditions 01.11.2010 Project funding
116112 Tectonics- an important driver of mid-Cretaceous climate 01.09.2007 Project funding
126563 Mid-Cretaceous greenhouse climate - in search for feedbacks between climate and oceanography 01.11.2009 Project funding
127716 The Early Triassic biotic recovery and climatic/oceanographic contraints 01.01.2010 Project funding

Abstract

With this proposal we request support for continuation of a running PhD project at the Department of Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich. The PhD student Stephan Wohlwend started with his thesis in December 2010. This proposal asks for another 12 months of support. This will allow Stephan Wohlwend to finish his thesis within 4 years. Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous climate archives contain a record of multiple perturbation of the global carbon cycle. Carbon isotope records gained from analysis of marine carbonate provide information on evolution of carbon cycle through time. The geochemical record is combined with the sedimentary record which contains sedimentological signatures of past oceanography. Widespread black shale deposits defined as “Oceanic Anoxic Events” (OAE) in Mesozoic ocean history have ben shown to coincide with major C-cycle perturbations. Major OAE’s are dated as Aptian, Albian and Cenomanian -Turonian in age. Black shale deposits in basinal settings of this age are encountered in sedimentary successions from North and South Atlantic, from the western Tethys Ocean. Few continental margin successions from the proto-Indian Ocean (Himalaya) and from the Pacific Ocean record conditions of an expanded O-minimum zone. Information on occurrence of organic-carbon enriched sediments in deep-sea settings from the Eastern Equatorial Tethys is missing. This project aims at improving the information on the evolution of this part of Cretaceous Oceans- today preserved in sedimentary successions in the Oman mountains. Based on available information from literature we started the project in December 2010 with the following hypotheses:-Oceanic Anoxic Events are expressed in organic-rich and/or silicous (high-productivity) sediments fromed in deep basinal settings of the Eastern Tethys. Targeted archives are pealgic sediments of Hawasina succession in the Oman mountains. -Oceanic Anoxic Events triggered an expansion of the Oxygen Minimum Zone in the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, sedimentary archives recording the history of a continental margin along a transect from the Arabian Platform to the Hawasina Basin will record changes in position and extent of the O-minimum layer.-C-isotope stratigraphy will serve as a tool for correlating ocean archives from the Oman Mountains with archives from the “alpine” Tethys and these comparisons will serve as baseline for an improved understanding of differences recorded in western Tethyan/Atlantic Oceans and in southeastern Tethys. Field and Laboratory work over the last 2 years indicates that the geological archives investigated in the Oman Mountains and - for comparison -in the Alps provide information which will allow us to continue to test the hypotheses formulated above In the last phase of the project, PhD student Stephan Wohlwend will focus on a completion of his geochemical investigations (C-isotope geochemistry), on filling remaining gaps in field analysis, and on presenting the data in 4 scientific publications and his PhD thesis.
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