Evidence fora change in Milankovitch forcing caused by extraterrestrial events at Massignano, Italy, Eocene-Oligocene boundary GSSP

Rachel E. Brown, Christian Koeberl, Alessandro Montanari, David Martin Bice

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

High-resolution spectral analyses of fourclimate proxies from Massignano, Italy (Eocene-Oligocene boundary global stratotype section and point [GSSP]), indicate that the deposition of this rhythmically bedded sedimentary sequence was controlled by Milankovitch orbital cycles. An inverse relationship between the magnetic susceptibility record and the co-varied calcium carbonate, d18O, and d13C records is indicative of a climate model in which limestones represent dry/cold periods, while marly limestones represent warm/wet periods. Through pattern matching of band-pass filtered signals with the La2004 eccentricity curve, we propose an astrochronological calibration forthis important time period. Constrained by three radioisotopically dated volcanic ashes and based on a band-pass version of eccentricity that exhibits expected amplitude modulations, ourastrochronology yields a refined age for the Eocene-Oligocene boundary of 33.91 ± 0.05 Ma. Orbital forcing is less pronounced in the lowerportion of the Massignano section (meterlevels 0-15), which contains evidence of several impact events and a 2.2-m.y.-long comet/asteroid shower. We propose that substantial, nonperiodic climate alterations caused by this period of enhanced extraterrestrial activity mask the Milankovitch climate cycles. Possible mechanisms for the exaggeration of impact-related climatic changes include the ice-albedo feedback or the combined effect of impact-related atmospheric alterations with ongoing dust-particle loading associated with the comet/asteroid shower.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
Volume452
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology

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