Abstract

Storm-bed (tempestite) thickness reflects, in part, storm intensity, which is related to the amount of atmospheric CO2. Thus, variations in tempestite thickness through geologic time may record fluctuations of CO2. Geologic criteria other than storm-bed data have been used to define specific intervals of time when the atmosphere was CO2 enriched (greenhouse phases) and CO2 depleted (icehouse phases). If tempestite thickness, storm intensity, and CO2 are causally linked, greenhouse phases should correspond to deposits of thick tempestites (more intense storms), and icehouse phases should be characterized by comparatively thin tempestites (less intense storms). Tempestite thickness data provide a test of the greenhouse-icehouse model, and initial results suggest general agreement with the independently derived climate (CO2) curve for the latest Precambrian through Phanerozoic.

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