Synchronizing early Eocene deep-sea and continental records - cyclostratigraphic age models for the Bighorn Basin Coring Project drill cores

Academic Article


  • Abstract. A consistent chronostratigraphic framework is required to understand the effect of major paleoclimate perturbations on both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Transient global warming events in the early Eocene, at 56–54 Ma, show the impact of large-scale carbon input into the ocean–atmosphere system. Here we provide the first timescale synchronization of continental and marine deposits spanning the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and the interval just prior to the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (ETM-2). Cyclic variations in geochemical data come from continental drill cores of the Bighorn Basin Coring Project (BBCP, Wyoming, USA) and from marine deep-sea drilling deposits retrieved by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). Both are dominated by eccentricity-modulated precession cycles used to construct a common cyclostratigraphic framework. Integration of age models results in a revised astrochronology for the PETM in deep-sea records that is now generally consistent with independent 3He age models. The duration of the PETM is estimated at ∼ 200 kyr for the carbon isotope excursion and ∼ 120 kyr for the associated pelagic clay layer. A common terrestrial and marine age model shows a concurrent major change in marine and terrestrial biota ∼ 200 kyr before ETM-2. In the Bighorn Basin, the change is referred to as Biohorizon B and represents a period of significant mammalian turnover and immigration, separating the upper Haplomylus–Ectocion Range Zone from the Bunophorus Interval Zone and approximating the Wa-4–Wa-5 land mammal zone boundary. In sediments from ODP Site 1262 (Walvis Ridge), major changes in the biota at this time are documented by the radiation of a “second generation” of apical spine-bearing sphenolith species (e.g., S. radians and S. editus), the emergence of T. orthostylus, and the marked decline of D. multiradiatus.
  • Authors

  • Westerhold, Thomas
  • Roehl, Ursula
  • Wilkens, Roy H
  • Gingerich, Philip D
  • Clyde, William
  • Wing, Scott L
  • Bowen, Gabriel J
  • Kraus, Mary J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 8, 2018
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 303
  • End Page

  • 319
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 3