Research Article

Cenozoic Deep-Sea Temperatures and Global Ice Volumes from Mg/Ca in Benthic Foraminiferal Calcite

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Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 269-272
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.269

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A deep-sea temperature record for the past 50 million years has been produced from the magnesium/calcium ratio (Mg/Ca) in benthic foraminiferal calcite. The record is strikingly similar in form to the corresponding benthic oxygen isotope (δ18O) record and defines an overall cooling of about 12°C in the deep oceans with four main cooling periods. Used in conjunction with the benthic δ18O record, the magnesium temperature record indicates that the first major accumulation of Antarctic ice occurred rapidly in the earliest Oligocene (34 million years ago) and was not accompanied by a decrease in deep-sea temperatures.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: chl26{at}

  • Present address: School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Southampton Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK.

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