During middle Eocene to middle Miocene time, development of the Cenozoic icehouse was coincident with a prolonged episode of explosive silicic volcanism, the ignimbrite flare-up of southwestern North America. We present geochronologic and biogeochemical data suggesting that, prior to the establishment of full glacial conditions with attendant increased eolian dust emission and oceanic upwelling, iron fertilization by great volumes of silicic volcanic ash was an effective climatic forcing mechanism that helped to establish the Cenozoic icehouse. Most Phanerozoic cool-climate episodes were coeval with major explosive volcanism in silicic large igneous provinces, suggesting a common link between these phenomena.

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