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Continental weathering coupled to Paleogene climate changes in North America

Angela M. Hessler, Jinyu Zhang, Jacob A. Covault and William Ambrose
Continental weathering coupled to Paleogene climate changes in North America
Geology (Boulder) (October 2017) 45 (10): 911-914


Continental weathering is an important feedback on climate change. However, uncertainty remains regarding the sedimentary response and scale of this feedback, due to the sporadic preservation of in situ geologic evidence for weathering. We examined the United States Gulf of Mexico coast continental margin for a downstream sedimentary response to Paleogene climate changes. The Gulf Coast is a receiving basin for fluvial systems draining a large area of the North American continental interior. We sampled cores that penetrate the nearly continuous approximately 1000-m-thick siliciclastic marginal marine Wilcox Group (Paleocene-Eocene) and Frio Formation (Oligocene). The Wilcox strata were deposited within the Rockdale delta system at the terminus of the paleo-Colorado River, an approximately 1 X 10 (super 6) km (super 2) drainage. Mineralogical and geochemical alteration indices demonstrate that sediment within the paleo-Colorado catchment was generated under temperate-tropical weathering conditions during the late Paleocene, shifting to higher intensity (warmer) weathering conditions at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, and reversing to lower intensity (cooler) conditions during the Oligocene. The indices track the global ocean delta (super 18) O curve across the Paleocene-Eocene transition and into the Oligocene, an indication that global climate and hinterland weathering in North America were coupled during the Paleogene, and that silicate weathering was an important feedback to climate change over a continental-scale, tectonically active catchment.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 45
Serial Issue: 10
Title: Continental weathering coupled to Paleogene climate changes in North America
Affiliation: Deep Time Institute, Austin, TX, United States
Pages: 911-914
Published: 201710
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 49
Accession Number: 2018-024394
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2017297
Illustration Description: illus. incl. geol. sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201806
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