Orbital pacing of Eocene climate during the Middle Eocene Climate Optimum and the chron C19r event: Missing link found in the tropical western Atlantic

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Abstract

[1] A high-resolution stratigraphy is essential toward deciphering climate variability in detail and understanding causality arguments of events in earth history. Because the middle to late Eocene provides a perfect testing ground for carbon cycle models to reconstruct the transition from a hothouse to an icehouse world, an accurate time scale is needed to decode climate-driving mechanisms. Here we present new results from ODP Site 1260 (Leg 207) which covers a unique expanded middle Eocene section (magnetochrons C18r to C20r, late Lutetian to early Bartonian) of the tropical western Atlantic including the chron C19r transient hyperthermal event and the Middle Eocene Climate Optimum (MECO). To establish a detailed cyclostratigraphy we acquired iron intensity records by XRF scanning Site 1260 cores. We revise the shipboard composite section, establish a cyclostratigraphy and use the exceptional eccentricity modulated precession cycles for orbital tuning. The new astrochronology revises the age of magnetic polarity chrons C19n to C20n, validates the position of very long eccentricity minima at 40.2 and 43.0 Ma in the orbital solutions and extends the Astronomically Tuned Geological Timescale back to 44 Ma. For the first time the new data provide clear evidence for an orbital pacing of the chron C19r event and a likely involvement of the very long (2.4 myr) eccentricity cycle contributing to the evolution of the MECO.

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