Paleoceanography

Erosion and reworking of Pacific sediments near the Eocene-Oligocene boundary

Authors

  • Ted C. Moore Jr.

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
    • Corresponding author: T. C. Moore, Jr., Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan, 2334 C. C. Little Building, 1100 North University Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1005, USA. (tedmoore@umich.edu)

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Abstract

[1] The Eocene-Oligocene (E/O) boundary interval marks one of the largest and most rapid changes in climate during the last 50 Myr. Because of a very shallow calcium carbonate compensation depth in the Eocene, as well as the reworking of sediments and hiatuses in the boundary zone, it has also been one of the most difficult stratigraphic boundaries to study in deep water marine sections, especially in the Pacific Ocean. Recently, three drill sites have recovered complete sections of the E/O boundary interval in the tropical Pacific. A detailed study of these sections shows a series of pulses of reworked older radiolarians in the upper Eocene and lowermost Oligocene. The two largest pulses are coincident with the two sharp steps in carbon and oxygen isotope values that bracket the E/O boundary. Several smaller peaks in reworked material precede these two maxima. It is proposed that immixing of the older radiolarian species results from erosion and redeposition, possibly linked to pulses of new bottom water formation and the formation of a deep pycnocline.

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