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Science. 2018 Jun 29;360(6396):1467-1469. doi: 10.1126/science.aap8525. Epub 2018 May 24.

Postimpact earliest Paleogene warming shown by fish debris oxygen isotopes (El Kef, Tunisia).

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Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA.
Department of Geology, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY, USA.
Department of Geological Sciences and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA.
Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, University of Tunis El Manar, 2092 Manar II, Tunis, Tunisia.


Greenhouse warming is a predicted consequence of the Chicxulub impact, but supporting data are sparse. This shortcoming compromises understanding of the impact's effects, and it has persisted due to an absence of sections that both contain suitable material for traditional carbonate- or organic-based paleothermometry and are complete and expanded enough to resolve changes on short time scales. We address the problem by analyzing the oxygen isotopic composition of fish debris, phosphatic microfossils that are relatively resistant to diagenetic alteration, from the Global Stratotype Section and Point for the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary at El Kef, Tunisia. We report an ~1 per mil decrease in oxygen isotopic values (~5°C warming) beginning at the boundary and spanning ~300 centimeters of section (~100,000 years). The pattern found matches expectations for impact-initiated greenhouse warming.

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