The Source and Fate of Massive Carbon Input During the Latest Paleocene Thermal Maximum

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Science  19 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5444, pp. 1531-1533
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5444.1531

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Lithologic, faunal, seismic, and isotopic evidence from the Blake Nose (subtropical western North Atlantic) links a massive release of biogenic methane ∼55.5 million years ago to a warming of deep-ocean and high-latitude surface waters, a large perturbation in the combined ocean-atmosphere carbon cycle (the largest of the past 90 million years), a mass extinction event in benthic faunas, and a radiation of mammalian orders. The deposition of a mud clast interval and seismic evidence for slope disturbance are associated with intermediate water warming, massive carbon input to the global exogenic carbon cycle, pelagic carbonate dissolution, a decrease in dissolved oxygen, and a benthic foraminiferal extinction event. These events provide evidence to confirm the gas hydrate dissociation hypothesis and identify the Blake Nose as a site of methane release.

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