Evidence for Glacial Control of Rapid Sea Level Changes in the Early Cretaceous

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  21 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5269, pp. 1771-1774
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5269.1771


Lower Cretaceous bulk carbonate from deep sea sediments records sudden inputs of strontium resulting from the exposure of continental shelves. Strontium data from an interval spanning 7 million years in the Berriasian-Valanginian imply that global sea level fluctuated about 50 meters over time scales of 200,000 to 500,000 years, which is in agreement with the Exxon sea level curve. Oxygen isotope measurements indicate that the growth of continental ice sheets caused these rapid sea level changes. If glaciation caused all the rapid sea level changes in the Cretaceous that are indicated by the Exxon curve, then an Antarctic ice sheet may have existed despite overall climatic warmth.