Abstract

Two recently drilled Caribbean sites contain expanded sedimentary records of the late Paleocene thermal maximum, a dramatic global warming event that occurred at ca. 55 Ma. The records document significant environmental changes, including deep-water oxygen deficiency and a mass extinction of deep-sea fauna, intertwined with evidence for a major episode of explosive volcanism. We postulate that this volcanism initiated a reordering of ocean circulation that resulted in rapid global warming and dramatic changes in the Earth's environment.

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