Model Simulation of the Cretaceous Ocean Circulation

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Science  12 May 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4905, pp. 684-686
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4905.684


Three-dimensional numerical ocean circulation model experiments that were designed to evaluate the circulation characteristics for the mid-Cretaceous (∼100 million years ago) show that the primary direction of flow through the Tethys Ocean was eastward; in contrast, a westward flowing circumglobal Tethys current has been a consistent feature of earlier reconstructions of Cretaceous ocean circulation. The model studies demonstrate that (i) ocean circulation is sufficiently sensitive to the role of continental positions, sea level, and climate to limit the application of modern analogs to past circulations, and (ii) reconstructions based on limited biogeographic data may not provide unique surface circulation patterns.

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