Miocene Paleoceanography and Plankton Evolution

  1. Kenneth J. Hsü
  1. James P. Kennett

Published Online: 15 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GD015p0119

Mesozoic and Cenozoic Oceans

Mesozoic and Cenozoic Oceans

How to Cite

Kennett, J. P. (1986) Miocene Paleoceanography and Plankton Evolution, in Mesozoic and Cenozoic Oceans (ed K. J. Hsü), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GD015p0119

Author Information

  1. Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R. I. 02881

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1986

Book Series:

  1. Geodynamics Series

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875905150

Online ISBN: 9781118669914



  • Paleoceanography—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Mesozoic—Congresses;
  • Geology, Stratigraphic—Cenozoic—Congresses;
  • Paleo-climatology—Congresses;
  • Ocean circulation—Congresses


During the Miocene, a number of major developments occurred in the evolution of the ocean and of its planktonic biota which are summarized in Table 1. Numerous workers of CENOP (Cenozoic Paleoceanography Program) and others have contributed towards better understanding of the Miocene Ocean; that which existed between the still unfamiliar Oligocene Ocean and the more familiar latest Cenozoic.

The development of a Circumantarctic current near the end of the Oligocene (22 to 25 Ma) and related continued restriction of low latitude oceanic circulation set the stage for Miocene oceanographic and biotic evolution. The Circumantarctic circulation system developed as southern land masses moved away, creating unrestricted latitudinal flow. Changing boundary conditions in this region included the opening of the Tasmanian Seaway as Australia moved northwards, the opening of the Drake Passage and the development of the Kerguelen Plateau. The initial formation, and later more complete development, of the Circumantarctic Current thermally isolated Antarctica by decoupling the warmer subtropical gyres from colder high latitude waters. The climatic history of the Southern Ocean is, in general, one of decreasing temperatures, including the development of increased Antarctic glaciation and later ice sheet formation, a climatic regime which itself had a profound effect on global environmental evolution, and planktonic biogeography.