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Lithium isotope evidence for enhanced weathering during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2

Pogge von Strandmann, PAE; Jenkyns, HC; Woodfine, RG; (2013) Lithium isotope evidence for enhanced weathering during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Nature Geoscience , 6 (8) 668 -672. 10.1038/ngeo1875. Green open access

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Abstract

The Ocean Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) about 93.5 million years ago was marked by high atmospheric CO2 concentration, rapid global warming and marine anoxia and euxinia. The event lasted for about 440,000 years and led to habitat loss and mass extinction. The marine anoxia is thought to be linked to enhanced biological productivity, but it is unclear what triggered the increased production and what allowed the subsequent rapid climate recovery. Here we use lithium isotope measurements from carbonates spanning the interval including OAE2 to assess the role of silicate weathering. We find the lightest values of the Li isotope ratio (δ7Li) during OAE2, indicating high levels of weathering—and therefore atmospheric CO2 removal—which we attribute to an enhanced hydrological cycle. We use a geochemical model to simulate the evolution of δ7Li and the Ca, Sr and Os isotope tracers. Our simulations suggest a scenario in which the eruption of a large igneous province led to high atmospheric CO2 concentrations and rapid global warming, which initiated OAE2. The simulated warming was accompanied by a roughly 200,000 year pulse of accelerated weathering of mafic silicate rocks, which removed CO2 from the atmosphere. The weathering also delivered nutrients to the oceans that stimulated primary productivity. We suggest that this process, together with the burial of organic carbon, allowed the rapid recovery and stabilization from the greenhouse state.

Type: Article
Title: Lithium isotope evidence for enhanced weathering during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1875
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1875
Language: English
Additional information: © Nature 2013
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1403475
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