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Norris, Richard D; Röhl, Ursula (1999): Susceptibility, δ¹³C and Iron of Site 171-1051 [dataset]. PANGAEA,, Supplement to: Norris, RD; Röhl, U (1999): Carbon cycling and chronology of climate warming during the Palaeocene/Eocene transition. Nature, 401(6755), 775-778,

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Current models of the global carbon cycle lack natural mechanisms to explain known large, transient shifts in past records of the stable carbon-isotope ratio (delta13C) of carbon reservoirs. The injection into the atmosphere of ~1,200-2,000 gigatons of carbon, as methane from the decomposition of sedimentary methane hydrates, has been proposed to explain a delta13C anomaly associated with high-latitude warming and changes in marine and terrestrial biota near the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, about 55 million years ago. These events may thus be considered as a natural 'experiment' on the effects of transient greenhouse warming. Here we use physical, chemical and spectral analyses of a sediment core from the western North Atlantic Ocean to show that two-thirds of the carbon-isotope anomaly occurred within no more than a few thousand years, indicating that carbon was catastrophically released into the ocean and atmosphere. Both the delta13C anomaly and biotic changes began between 54.93 and 54.98 million years ago, and are synchronous in oceans and on land. The longevity of the delta13C anomaly suggests that the residence time of carbon in the Palaeocene global carbon cycle was ~120 thousand years, which is similar to the modelled response after a massive input of methane. Our results suggest that large natural perturbations to the global carbon cycle have occurred in the past-probably by abrupt failure of sedimentary carbon reservoirs-at rates that are similar to those induced today by human activity.
XRF core scanner
Latitude: 30.053000 * Longitude: -76.357750
Date/Time Start: 1997-01-21T00:00:00 * Date/Time End: 1997-01-21T00:00:00
Minimum DEPTH, sediment/rock: 486.12 m * Maximum DEPTH, sediment/rock: 544.00 m
171-1051 * Latitude: 30.053000 * Longitude: -76.357750 * Date/Time: 1997-01-21T00:00:00 * Elevation: -1981.6 m * Penetration: 1171.2 m * Recovery: 1108.1 m * Location: Blake Nose, North Atlantic Ocean * Campaign: Leg171B * Basis: Joides Resolution * Method/Device: Composite Core (COMPCORE) * Comment: 134 cores; 1160.9 m cored; 10.3 m drilled; 95.4% recovery
#NameShort NameUnitPrincipal InvestigatorMethod/DeviceComment
1DEPTH, sediment/rockDepth sedmGeocode
2Sample code/labelSample labelDSDP/ODP/IODP sample designation
3Depth, compositeDepth compmcdNorris, Richard DIntercore correlation
4Depth, compositeDepth compmcdRöhl, UrsulaIntercore correlation
5Magnetic susceptibility, volumekappa10-6 SINorris, Richard DSusceptibility, Multi Sensor Track, Joides Resolution
6IronFecpsRöhl, UrsulaX-ray fluorescence core scanner (XRF)
7δ13C, carbonateδ13C carb‰ PDBNorris, Richard DIsotope ratio mass spectrometry
14709 data points

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