Oligocene climate dynamics

Authors

  • Bridget S. Wade,

    1. Grant Institute of Earth Sciences, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, UK
    2. Now at School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.
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  • Heiko Pälike

    1. Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Now at Southampton Oceanography Centre, School of Ocean and Earth Science, Southampton, UK.
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Abstract

[1] A planktonic and benthic foraminiferal stable isotope stratigraphy of the Oligocene equatorial Pacific (Ocean Drilling Program, Site 1218) was generated at 6 kyr resolution between magnetochrons C9n and C11n.2n (∼26.4–30 Ma on a newly developed astronomically calibrated timescale). Our data allow a detailed examination of Oligocene paleoceanography, the evolution of the early cryosphere, and the influence of orbital forcing on glacioeustatic sea level variations. Spectral analysis reveals power and coherency for obliquity (40 kyr period) and eccentricity (∼110, 405 kyr) orbital bands, with an additional strong imprint of the eccentricity and 1.2 Myr obliquity amplitude cycle, driving ice sheet oscillations in the Southern Hemisphere. Planktonic and benthic foraminifera δ18O are used to constrain the magnitude and timing of major fluctuations in ice volume and global sea level change. Glacial episodes, related to obliquity and eccentricity variations, occurred at 29.16, 27.91, and 26.76 Ma, corresponding to glacioeustatic sea level fluctuations of 50–65 m. Alteration of high-latitude temperatures and Antarctic ice volume had a significant impact on the global carbon burial and equatorial productivity, as cyclic variations are also recorded in the carbon isotope signal of planktonic and benthic foraminifera, the water column carbon isotope gradient, and estimated percent carbonate of bulk sediment. We also investigate the implications of a close correspondence between oxygen and carbon isotope events and long-term amplitude envelope extrema in astronomical calculations during the Oligocene, and develop a new naming scheme for stable isotope events, on the basis of the 405 kyr eccentricity cycle count.