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Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic interpretations of the late Paleocene Goler Formation, Southern California, U.S.A., based on paleosol geochemistry

Mark A. Torres and Robert R. Gaines
Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic interpretations of the late Paleocene Goler Formation, Southern California, U.S.A., based on paleosol geochemistry
Journal of Sedimentary Research (August 2013) 83 (8): 591-605

Abstract

The Paleocene was characterized by high global temperatures and elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO (sub 2) . Paleoclimate records of this epoch are of particular interest to understanding the effects of anthropogenic climate forcing as well as linkages between the Paleocene climate and major tectonic and evolutionary events. However, terrestrial paleoclimatic records of the Paleocene are limited in their spatial extent, and few such records are known from western North America. In this study, paleosols from two members in the late Paleocene Goler Formation of Southern California were used to investigate local paleoclimatic conditions. The paleosols were described in detail and analyzed for morphology, clay mineralogy, and bulk geochemistry. Carbonate nodules present in paleosols from the upper member (member 4a) were characterized using petrographic and cathodoluminescence microscopy and were analyzed for carbon and oxygen stable-isotope composition. Enrichment and retention of soluble elements (Ca, Mg, and Na) and the mobilization of Fe and Mn in the paleosol profiles suggest a climate with strongly seasonal precipitation. This interpretation is further supported by the presence of pedogenic slickensides and the clay minerals smectite and illite. The appearance of pedogenic carbonate nodules in paleosols from the upper member is suggestive of a shift to more arid or more seasonal conditions that is coincident with a prominent change in sediment provenance and an inferred increase in sedimentation rate. Uplift of the ancestral Sierra Nevada during the late Paleocene was likely an important control on regional paleoclimate due to the effects of elevated topography on mean annual precipitation and seasonal distribution of precipitation. The correlation of a shift in pedogenic processes with changes in provenance and sedimentation rate suggests that the evolution of regional tectonic activity was an important control on these processes during the deposition of the Goler Formation.


ISSN: 1527-1404
EISSN: 1938-3681
Serial Title: Journal of Sedimentary Research
Serial Volume: 83
Serial Issue: 8
Title: Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic interpretations of the late Paleocene Goler Formation, Southern California, U.S.A., based on paleosol geochemistry
Affiliation: University of Southern California, Department of Earth Sciences, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Pages: 591-605
Published: 201308
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 69
Accession Number: 2013-067947
Categories: StratigraphyGeochemistry of rocks, soils, and sediments
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, sketch map
N35°37'21" - N35°37'21", W117°40'15" - W117°40'15"
Secondary Affiliation: Pomona College, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201340
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