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1 Back into the Icehouse GEOL 3100 Christina Gallup.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Back into the Icehouse GEOL 3100 Christina Gallup."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Back into the Icehouse GEOL 3100 Christina Gallup

2 2 Slipping into an Icehouse Evidence for cooling in Antarctica? –Ice-rafted debris at 35 Ma show beginning of ice cap Big jumps in ice cap size at 13 and 7-5 Ma Today 90% of continent covered in ice –Beech trees and ferns lived there at 40 Ma lichen and summer algae today

3 3 Antarctic cooling 55 Ma Today

4 4 Slipping into an Icehouse Evidence for cooling in the Arctic? –Ice caps? NO!! Ice caps cannot form in the open ocean –Breadfruit until 60 Ma –Boreal forest by 20 Ma –Tundra last few million years

5 5 Arctic cooling Broadleaf trees 55 Ma Tundra today

6 6 Slipping into an Icehouse Evidence for cooling in the mid to upper latitudes? –Greenland ice cap starting 7-3 Ma –N. American and Eurasian ice sheets starting 2.7 Ma Increased in size starting at 0.9 Ma –Mountain glaciers in the Andes starting 7-4 Ma –Leaf outlines in western North America transitioned from smooth to more serrated in the last 55 Ma

7 7 Cooling estimated from leaf shape ~10-15 C in last 50 Ma Activity: What would allow you to evaluate the precision of this estimate? ERROR BARS

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9 9 Oxygen Isotope evidence for deep water cooling over last 70 Ma – the deep ocean has cooled by at least 14 degrees C Assignment: Read the handout and start the homework and we will go over oxygen isotope systematics next time

10 10 What caused the cooling: Testing Hypotheses Activity: What are the main hypotheses that we need to test? –Polar position Hypothesis –Spreading Rate Hypothesis –Uplift Weathering Hypothesis –Ocean Heat Transport Hypothesis

11 11 Polar Position Hypothesis: When there are continents in polar position, there will be an icehouse and when there are not continents in polar position, there will be a greenhouse. Where was Antarctica at 100 Ma? Where is it today? How does the polar position hypothesis do?

12 12 Spreading Rate Hypothesis: When spreading is slower, there will be cooling or in an icehouse and when spreading is faster, there will be warming or a greenhouse. Were spreading rates at 50 Ma faster or slower than today? Are spreading rates for the last 50 Ma consistent with cooling for the last 50 Ma? How does the spreading rate hypothesis do?

13 13 Uplift Weathering Hypothesis To evaluate, need to look at 1.Evidence for uplifted terrain 2.Evidence that terrain was rapidly physically weathered 3.Evidence that physical weathering led to rapid chemical weathering

14 14 High Terrains today 4 main uplifted regions today that are not covered by ice Most of these include uplifted 100-65 Ma marine sediments

15 15 Mountain building geologic processes Activity: What are they? –Continent-continent collision –Subduction –Continental rifting

16 16 Collision of India with Asia Tibetan plateau includes 2,000,000 sq. km with average elevation > 5 km

17 17 Continental Collision History India-Asia collision first continental collision since 250 Ma

18 18 Subduction related mountains Andes –Subduction started before 100 Ma –Altiplano plateau and Eastern Andes created in last 55 Ma Western North America –Subduction for last 200 Ma –Rockies timing questionable

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20 20 Continental rifting East African rift in last 30 Ma Similar or greater African rifting at 100 Ma

21 21 Uplift Weathering 1: uplift Where do we stand? -For the three different processes of mountain building we identified, which argue for increased uplift in the last 55 Ma? -Continent-continent collision!

22 22 Uplift Weathering 2: Physical Weathering What is the best evidence for increased physical weathering in the geologic record? –Sediments! –The more physical weathering, the more detritus is created and delivered to basins

23 23 Sediments in Indian Ocean from weathering of Himalayan mountains Would sediments coming off of subduction related mountains be as well preserved?

24 24 Delivery of sediments increased by monsoon rains that are amplified by the high plateau

25 25 Uplift Weathering 3: Chemical Weathering What is the best evidence for increased chemical weathering? –Dissolved ions in rivers –Hard to measure today, even harder to quantify in the geologic past!!!

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27 27 Uplift Weathering Hypothesis 1.Sufficient uplift to drive cooling in last 50 Ma? Yes, Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau 2.Sufficient physical weathering to drive cooling in last 50 Ma? Probably, though sediments from subduction zones lost to trenches 3.Sufficient hydrolysis to drive cooling in last 50 Ma? Probably, by inference from #2

28 28 A more complete climate feedback loop for the uplift- weathering hypothesis

29 29 Ocean Heat Transport Hypothesis Background: Increased ocean heat transport kept poles warmer during greenhouse Hypothesis: Continued high ocean heat transport contributed to polar cooling during the last 55 Ma

30 30 Opening of Drake’s Passage ~25- 20 Ma may have decreased oceanic poleward heat transport After opening, circumpolar current started No major climate shifts at this time however

31 31 Closure of Isthmus of Panama ~4 Ma caused increased poleward heat transport Major Northern Hemisphere glaciations started ~1 Ma later

32 32 Ocean Heat Transport Hypothesis The history of oceanic circulation and the role of gateways in oceanic circulation still too poorly known to evaluate the hypothesis well.

33 33 The Schrag Hypothesis Hypothesized by Dan Schrag (Harvard) in the last few years The more limestone bearing oceanic crust being subducted, the more CO2 released into the atmosphere – Greenhouse The less limestone bearing oceanic crust being subducted, the less CO2 released into the atmosphere - Icehouse

34 34 How does the Schrag Hypothesis stack up? The ocean crust that was subducted while India was moving towards Asia was very limestone rich Most subduction zones today are not subducting limestone bearing oceanic crust The cooling started after India collided with Asia, 55 Ma ago. –Coincidence? Maybe not

35 35 Many possible hypotheses and feedbacks! -where would the Earth go next on a tectonic timescale, a deeper icehouse or a greenhouse? -will anthropogenic global warming affect this future? Paleoclimatology is a very young field and we have a lot to learn!!

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