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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 14;9(1):4458. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-41013-7.

Climate- and gateway-driven cooling of Late Eocene to earliest Oligocene sea surface temperatures in the North Sea Basin.

Author information

1
GEUS Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Department of Stratigraphy, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350, Copenhagen K, Denmark. kksl@geus.dk.
2
Aarhus University, Department of Geoscience, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 2, 8000, Århus C, Denmark.
3
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, Utrecht University, Texel, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

During the late Eocene, the Earth's climate experienced several transient temperature fluctuations including the Vonhof cooling event (C16n.1n; ~35.8 Ma) hitherto known mainly from the southern oceans. Here we reconstruct sea-surface temperatures (SST) and provide δ18O and δ13C foraminiferal records for the late Eocene and earliest Oligocene in the North Sea Basin. Our data reveal two main perturbations: (1), an abrupt brief cooling of ~4.5 °C dated to ~35.8 Ma and synchronous with the Vonhof cooling, which thus may be a global event, and (2) a gradual nearly 10 °C temperature fall starting at 36.1 Ma and culminating near the Eocene-Oligocene transition at ~33.9 Ma. The late Priabonian temperature trend in the North Sea shows some resemblance IODP Site U1404 from the North Atlantic, offshore Newfoundland; and is in contrast to the more abrupt change observed in the deep-sea δ18O records from the southern oceans. The cooling in the North Sea is large compared to the pattern seen in the North Atlantic record. This difference may be influenced by a late Eocene closure of the warm gateways connecting the North Sea with the Atlantic and Tethys oceans.

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