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      Impact of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum on deep-ocean microbenthic community structure: Using rank-abundance curves to quantify paleoecological response

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      Geology
      Geological Society of America

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          Abrupt deep-sea warming, palaeoceanographic changes and benthic extinctions at the end of the Palaeocene

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            Rapid acidification of the ocean during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum.

            The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) has been attributed to the rapid release of approximately 2000 x 10(9) metric tons of carbon in the form of methane. In theory, oxidation and ocean absorption of this carbon should have lowered deep-sea pH, thereby triggering a rapid ( 100,000 years). These findings indicate that a large mass of carbon (>2000 x 10(9) metric tons of carbon) dissolved in the ocean at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary and that permanent sequestration of this carbon occurred through silicate weathering feedback.
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              Release of methane from a volcanic basin as a mechanism for initial Eocene global warming

              A 200,000-yr interval of extreme global warming marked the start of the Eocene epoch about 55 million years ago. Negative carbon- and oxygen-isotope excursions in marine and terrestrial sediments show that this event was linked to a massive and rapid (approximately 10,000 yr) input of isotopically depleted carbon. It has been suggested previously that extensive melting of gas hydrates buried in marine sediments may represent the carbon source and has caused the global climate change. Large-scale hydrate melting, however, requires a hitherto unknown triggering mechanism. Here we present evidence for the presence of thousands of hydrothermal vent complexes identified on seismic reflection profiles from the Vøring and Møre basins in the Norwegian Sea. We propose that intrusion of voluminous mantle-derived melts in carbon-rich sedimentary strata in the northeast Atlantic may have caused an explosive release of methane--transported to the ocean or atmosphere through the vent complexes--close to the Palaeocene/Eocene boundary. Similar volcanic and metamorphic processes may explain climate events associated with other large igneous provinces such as the Siberian Traps (approximately 250 million years ago) and the Karoo Igneous Province (approximately 183 million years ago).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Geology
                Geology
                Geological Society of America
                0091-7613
                1943-2682
                September 01 2009
                September 01 2009
                September 01 2009
                September 01 2009
                : 37
                : 9
                : 783-786
                Article
                10.1130/G30074A.1
                11c09841-2b67-4511-b218-960be87aa5bf
                © 2009
                History

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