High-resolution record of export production in the eastern equatorial Pacific across the Eocene-Oligocene transition and relationships to global climatic records


Corresponding author: A. Erhardt, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. (erhardt@stanford.edu)


[1] Understanding changes in export production through time provides insight into the response of the biological pump to global climate change, particularly during periods of rapid climate change. In this study we consider what role changes in export production may have had on carbon sequestration and how this may have contributed to the onset of the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT). In addition, we consider if these export production variations are dominantly controlled by orbitally driven climate variability. To accomplish these objectives, we report changes in export production in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific (EEP) from Site U1333 across the EOT reconstructed from a high-resolution record of marine barite accumulation rates (BAR). BAR fluctuations suggest synchronous declines in export production associated with the two-step increases in oxygen isotopes that define the transition. The reduction in productivity across the EOT suggests that the biological pump did not contribute to carbon sequestration and the cooling over this transition. We also report a previously undocumented peak in EEP export productivity before the EOT onset. This peak is consistent with export production proxies from the Southern Ocean, potentially implying a global driver for this precursor event. We propose that this enhanced export production and the associated carbon sequestration in the late Eocene may have contributed to the pCO2 drawdown at the onset of Antarctic glaciation.