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Abrupt deep-sea warming, palaeoceanographic changes and benthic extinctions at the end of the Palaeocene

Nature volume 353, pages 225229 (19 September 1991) | Download Citation

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Abstract

A remarkable oxygen and carbon isotope excursion occurred in Antarctic waters near the end of the Palaeocene (~57.33 Myr ago), indicating rapid global warming and oceanographic changes that caused one of the largest deep-sea benthic extinctions of the past 90 million years. In contrast, the oceanic plankton were largely unaffected, implying a decoupling of the deep and shallow ecosystems. The data suggest that for a few thousand years, ocean circulation underwent fundamental changes producing a transient state that, although brief, had long-term effects on environmental and biotic evolution.

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Affiliations

  1. Marine Science Institute and Department of Geological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-6150, USA

    • J. P. Kennett
  2. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-0740, USA

    • L. D. Stott

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https://doi.org/10.1038/353225a0

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