Abstract

At Ocean Drilling Program Site 689 (Maud Rise, Southern Ocean), δ18O records of fine-fraction bulk carbonate and benthic foraminifers indicate that accelerated climate cooling took place following at least two closely spaced early late Eocene extraterrestrial impact events. A simultaneous surface-water productivity increase, as interpreted from δ13C data, is explained by enhanced water-column mixing due to increased latitudinal temperature gradients. These isotope data appear to be in concert with organic-walled dinoflagellate-cyst records across the same microkrystite-bearing impact-ejecta layer in the mid-latitude Massignano section (central Italy). In particular, the strong abundance increase of Thalassiphora pelagica is interpreted to indicate cooling or increased productivity at Massignano. Because impact-induced cooling processes are active on time scales of a few years at most, the estimated 100 k.y. duration of the cooling event appears to be too long to be explained by impact scenarios alone. This implies that a feedback mechanism, such as a global albedo increase due to extended snow and ice cover, may have sustained impact-induced cooling for a longer time after the impacts.

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