Deep water in the late Maastrichtian ocean



[1] Stable isotopic data from benthic foraminifera indicate the occurrence of at least three deepwater masses in the late Maastrichtian ocean. Given mean oceanic δ18Ow of −1.0‰, the temperature of the coolest intermediate-depth waters was 5°–7°C, that of the deepest waters was 10°C, and that of the warmest intermediate waters was 13°–15°C. The cool intermediate-depth water mass probably originated in the high-latitude Southern Ocean. The deepest waters originated at least partly in the northern Atlantic. The source region for the warmest intermediate-depth water mass is unknown. Although much of the late Maastrichtian deep water was probably preconditioned for winter sinking by low- or middle-latitude evaporation, no more than ∼11% of late Maastrichtian deep water could have been directly actuated by low-latitude sea surface evaporation. At least in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans, heat transport by upwelling of deep water was not the primary cause of mild sea surface and coastal temperatures.