Abstract

Geochemical data suggest that ocean circulation patterns changed over a period of long-term cooling during the last 10 m.y. of the Cretaceous (late Campanian–Maastrichtian). Proposed changes include enhanced deep-water formation in the South Atlantic and/or Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean, initiation or enhanced deep-water formation in the North Atlantic, and alternating regions of deep convection in the North and South Pacific. Existing geochemical data do not allow simple confirmation or rejection of any of these scenarios. To test Pacific circulation during the Maastrichtian, we measured neodymium isotopic (εNd) values from four Pacific Deep Sea Drilling Project and Ocean Drilling Program sites and compare results both to Earth system model simulations using Maastrichtian paleogeography and to previous studies. Pacific εNd results consistently show a small negative εNd excursion during a well-documented, ∼1–3 m.y. early Maastrichtian cooling pulse (EMCP) but no other consistent trends across the late Campanian–late Maastrichtian interval (∼10 m.y.). Model results show that different CO2 forcings lead to changes in rates, but not patterns, of circulation. These combined results support the existence of a sustained source region for intermediate and deep waters in the southwestern Pacific throughout the late Campanian–Maastrichtian and indicate that changes in εNd values during the EMCP reflect an increased rate of overturning in the Pacific rather than changes in the source area of Pacific bottom waters.

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