Four Late Jurassic carbonate successions deposited in the Tethys-Atlantic Ocean record a negative carbon isotope excursion of at least 2‰. The excursion is present in both organic and carbonate carbon records and is comparable in magnitude and duration to isotopic changes during the late Paleocene thermal maximum. Our results indicate that during the Late Jurassic, long considered a warm greenhouse time, additional greenhouse gas was input to the atmosphere by a sudden release of methane from buried gas hydrate. A potential triggering mechanism may have been the opening of an oceanic gateway through the early Atlantic between the ancient Tethys and Pacific Oceans.

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