Archives par mot-clé : Cretaceous

Ultra-depleted hydrogen isotopes in hydrated glass record Late Cretaceous glaciation in Antarctica

by D.A. Nelson et al. , Sept 7, 2022 in NatureCommunications


The Early Jurassic Butcher Ridge Igneous Complex (BRIC) in the Transantarctic Mountains contains abundant and variably hydrated silicic glass which has the potential to preserve a rich paleoclimate record. Here we present Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopic data that indicates BRIC glasses contain up to ~8 wt.% molecular water (H2Om), and low (<0.8 wt.%) hydroxyl (OH) component, interpreted as evidence for secondary hydration by meteoric water. BRIC glasses contain the most depleted hydrogen isotopes yet measured in terrestrial rocks, down to δD = −325 ‰. In situ 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of hydrated glasses with ultra-depleted δD values yield ages from 105 Ma to 72 Ma with a peak at c. 91.4 Ma. Combined, these data suggest hydration of BRIC glasses by polar glacial ice and melt water during the Late Cretaceous, contradicting paleoclimate reconstructions of this period that suggest Antarctica was ice-free and part of a global hot greenhouse.

Volcanic eruptions directly triggered ocean acidification during Early Cretaceous

by Northwestern University, Dec 21, 2020 in ScienceDaily

Around 120 million years ago, the earth experienced an extreme environmental disruption that choked oxygen from its oceans.

Known as oceanic anoxic event (OAE) 1a, the oxygen-deprived water led to a minor — but significant — mass extinction that affected the entire globe. During this age in the Early Cretaceous Period, an entire family of sea-dwelling nannoplankton virtually disappeared.

By measuring calcium and strontium isotope abundances in nannoplankton fossils, Northwestern earth scientists have concluded the eruption of the Ontong Java Plateau large igneous province (LIP) directly triggered OAE1a. Roughly the size of Alaska, the Ontong Java LIP erupted for seven million years, making it one of the largest known LIP events ever. During this time, it spewed tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, pushing Earth into a greenhouse period that acidified seawater and suffocated the oceans.