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Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 18;7:10316. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10316.

A better-ventilated ocean triggered by Late Cretaceous changes in continental configuration.

Author information

1
Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE-IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, 91191 Gif sur Yvette, France.
2
Biogéosciences Dijon, Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, UMR CNRS 6282, Dijon 21000, France.
3
Géosciences Rennes, Université de Rennes, UMR CNRS 6118, Rennes 35042, France.

Abstract

Oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) are large-scale events of oxygen depletion in the deep ocean that happened during pre-Cenozoic periods of extreme warmth. Here, to assess the role of major continental configuration changes occurring during the Late Cretaceous on oceanic circulation modes, which in turn influence the oxygenation level of the deep ocean, we use a coupled ocean atmosphere climate model. We simulate ocean dynamics during two different time slices and compare these with existing neodymium isotope data (ɛNd). Although deep-water production in the North Pacific is continuous, the simulations at 94 and 71 Ma show a shift in southern deep-water production sites from South Pacific to South Atlantic and Indian Ocean locations. Our modelling results support the hypothesis that an intensification of southern Atlantic deep-water production and a reversal of deep-water fluxes through the Caribbean Seaway were the main causes of the decrease in ɛNd values recorded in the Atlantic and Indian deep waters during the Late Cretaceous.

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