Wagner, Thomas; Herrle, Jens O.; Sinninghe Damste, Jaap S.; Schouten, Stefan; Stuesser, Isabel; Hofmann, Peter (2008): Rapid warming and salinity changes of Cretaceous surface waters in the subtropical North Atlantic. Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States, Geology (Boulder), 36 (3), 203-206, georefid:2008-072105

Paleomarine carbon isotopic records reveal occasional and rapid release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The regional consequences on surface ocean properties and time relationships between the atmosphere and the ocean, however, are still far from understood. We observe a sudden -1.5 per mil shift in leaf wax n-alkane (super 13) C values at the onset of oceanic anoxic event (OAE) 1b from early Albian sediments off northwest Africa (Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 545) that is best explained by the rapid release of isotopically light carbon into the Cretaceous atmosphere. This -1.5 per mil shift in the n-alkanes precedes a negative isotope excursion of similar magnitude observed in marine carbonate, organic matter, and algal steranes. A TEX (sub 86) -based record of sea surface temperature (SST) confirms almost instantaneous warming by approximately 3.5 degrees C along with the marine isotope shifts at Site 545, paralleled by an approximately 2 degrees C TEX (sub 86) -SST increase and a freshening of surface water salinity from 43 to 41 at Blake Nose, Ocean Drilling Program Site 1049. Multiproxy evidence indicates that, once established, these warm SSTs prevailed and were stable during OAE 1b, suggesting that the emission of (super 13) C-depleted carbon started abruptly but then continued over tens of thousands of years. The SST cooled by approximately 1-2 degrees C at the end of the event, not reaching pre-excursion levels. The new records provide evidence for a time lag (best estimate approximately 1-3 k.y.) between atmospheric and oceanic processes that we interpret as a direct response to changes in the atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations followed by propagation into the ocean and subsequent heating of surface waters.
West: -76.0644 East: -9.2152 North: 33.3952 South: 30.0832
Expedition: 171A
Site: 171A-1049
Expedition: 171B
Expedition: 79
Site: 79-545
Supplemental Information:
With GSA Data Repository Item 2008053
Data access:
Provider: SEDIS Publication Catalogue
Data set link: http://sedis.iodp.org/pub-catalogue/index.php?id=10.1130/G24523A.1 (c.f. for more detailed metadata)
This metadata in ISO19139 XML format