Geological Society of London
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Palaeogene climate evolution in the Paris Basin from oxygen stable isotope (δ18O) compositions of marine molluscs

posted on 2016-06-21, 11:49 authored by Damien Huyghe, Franck Lartaud, Laurent Emmanuel, Didier Merle, Maurice Renard

The constraint of temperature evolution in coastal environments is an important factor in deciphering the Earth’s global climatic history. In this study, we reconstruct the evolution of sea-surface palaeotemperatures from the oxygen stable isotope compositions in four marine molluscs families in the Paris Basin during the Palaeogene. The combination of several taxa living in different environments is used to limit uncertainties related to the influence of salinity variations on palaeotemperature estimations. One family of bivalves (oysters) and three families of gastropods (Volutidae, Cerithiidae and Turritellidae) were sampled in the French part of the Paris Basin, in Belgium and in the Isle of Wight (southern England). Maximum seawater temperatures were observed during the Early Eocene (c. 30°C), which correspond to the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum, and temperatures then decreased until the Lutetian (c. 20°C). A transient warming, identified as the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum, occurred during the Bartonian, when temperatures reached 32°C. Temperatures decreased through the Eocene–Oligocene boundary, the coolest interval of the Palaeogene (c. 12°C). A final warming period occurred throughout the Early Oligocene, with temperatures reaching 24°C. The fossils analysed thus record the global climatic intervals of the Palaeogene.