A growing body of geologic evidence suggests that emplacement of the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP) played a major role in global warming during the early Paleogene as well as in the transient Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) event. A ∼5 million year record of major and trace element abundances spanning 56 to 51 Ma at Deep Sea Drilling Project Sites 401 and 549 confirms that the majority of NAIP volcanism occurred as subaerial flows. Thus the trace element records provide constraints on the nature and scope of the environmental impact of the NAIP during the late Paleocene-early Eocene interval. Subaerial volcanism would have injected mantle CO2 directly into the atmosphere, resulting in a more immediate increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas abundances than CO2 input through submarine volcanism. The lack of significant hydrothermalism contradicts recently proposed mechanisms for thermally destabilizing methane hydrate reservoirs during the PETM. Any connection between NAIP volcanism and PETM warming had to occur through the atmosphere.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology