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Solar System chaos and the Paleocene–Eocene boundary age constrained by geology and astronomy

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Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, pp. 926-929
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax0612

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Filling a dating hole

The periodic nature of Earth's orbit around the Sun produces cycles of insolation reflected in climate records. Conversely, these climate records can be used to infer changes in the dynamics of the Solar System, which is inherently chaotic and not always similarly periodic. A particular obstacle is the lack of well-defined planetary orbital constraints between 50 and 60 million years ago. Zeebe and Lourens found an astronomical solution for that interval showing that the Solar System experienced a specific resonance transition pattern. These data provide a measure of the duration of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Science, this issue p. 926

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