Oligocene transition- “the world turned


Hello !, Sorry I am extinct

Environmental Geosciences, class presentation IOR- Prof. Dr. Andrea Koschinsky-Fritsche
Title Image: Moeritherium

Presented by Kedar Ghimire, May 8th, 2007

Source: http://www.williamsclass.com/images/GifImages/GeologicTime205K.gif

• Timeline- (55.8 ± 0.2 - 33.9 ± 0.1 Ma) when
earth was free of large continental ice sheets • In Greek, ἠώς (eos, dawn) and καινός (kainos, new).
•Extreme global warming termed Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum or Initial Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM or IETM) •Deep ocean currents- extremely warm. Temperate forests extend to the poles Most homogeneous global climate. •Grand Coupure- the end of Eocene, causes could be due to climate change with polar glaciations, bolide impact
Middle Eocene ,Scotese, C. R., 1997. Paleogeographic Atlas, PALEOMAP Progress Report 90-0497, Department of Geology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, 37 pp

Eocene epoch

-refers to the "dawn" of modern ('new') mammalian fauna, appeared during CLIMATE the epoch

Oligocene epoch

• 34 million to 23 million years ago • comes from the Greek ὀλίγος (oligos, few)& καινός (kaino • the sparsity of additional modern mammalian faunas afte a burst of evolution during the Eocene • increase of volcanic activity and the plate tectonic movem • The start of general cooling, glaciers forming in Antarctica first time, fall in sea level, tropics diminished, ice covered south pole but not north pole

• Cooling trend continued, culminated into ice age of Pleisto finally. • followed by Miocene, then Pliocene, pleistocene and then Holocene


• "greenhouse" climates of the Eocene were replaced by the •
"icehouse" conditions that persist today. Analysis of Sedimentary rocks. Major extinctions for gastropods, amphibians and reptiles, little change to mammals

Eocene-Oligocene Transition

• Causes

• Dupont-Nivet et al. and Zanazzi et al. implicate it to the

declining levels of atmospheric CO2 . Ocean circulation hypothesis by Shackleton and Kennett . During Paleocene, Australia and Antarctica were joined. In the early Eocene (t=~55 m.y. ago), Australia began to drift northward from Antarctica. was relatively warm and the continent largely nonglaciated. By the late Eocene (t=~39 m.y. ago) a shallow water connection had developed between the southern Indian and Pacific oceans and also probably the Drake passage. Substantial Antarctic sea ice began to form.

• During the Eocene (t=55 to 38 m.y. ago) the Southern Ocean

Eocene-Oligocene Transition
• Antarctic glaciation sustained by
“Antarctic circumpolar current”. • Thermohaline oceanic circulation was initiated. (the global density-driven circulation of the oceans). • HOWEVER, computer models suggest something else.

Eocene-Oligocene Transition
• Dupont-Nivet et al.(2007) applied precision dating
techniques to demonstrate that climatic change in central asia occurred at the same time as the early oligocene glaciation of antarctica. Zanazzi et al. (2007), using 18O/16O measurements in tooth enamel from mammal fossils have provided evidence of decrease in AAT of 8°C They measured relative abundance of oxygen isotopes in ancient minerals. Depends upon the 18O/16O of water from which mineral is derived and the temperature at the time of formation. used 18O/16O measurements of tooth enamel from mammal fossils- estimated 18O/16O of body water. No temperature dependence to these

Eocene-Oligocene Transition
• Findings of Zanazzi et. al • Zanazzi et. al. methods lag the determined age of eocene• • • • • •
oligocene transition time period by approx. 400 Kyr compared to marine methods They made sure that all taxa experimented were waterdependent. No resolvable change seen in mean enamel δ18O, suggests that water composition remained unchanged. Statistical variance (var) for Eocene vs. Oligocene teeth – indistinguishable, suggests no major change in MART across the transition or a possibly small increase. Shows decrease in MAT of 8°C, far larger than found in marine records- 2-3°C MAT (Eocene)=21.0±10.1°C; MAT (Oligocene)= 13.1±9.5°C; δMAT(EOT)= -8.2±3.1°C Results say that decrease in MAT rather than an increase in seasonality or aridity is the primary cause of the extinctions of gastropods, amphibians and reptiles associated with the EOT.

• Asian drying and early oligocene climate

Discussion and conclusion

change are linked. • One thing to be tested: whether the regional tectonic events caused both the observed aridification and climatic change in Antarctica. • Himalayan uplift could have caused a rain shadow , simultaneously triggering a global reduction of CO2. • The eocene-oligoscene transition was a turning point for whole of earth and not only antarctica.

Thank you for your kind attention! • JP Kennett - Journal of Geophysical Research, 1977 • Zanazzi, A., Kohn, M. J., MacFadden, B. J. & Terry, D. O. Jr • • • • • • • •


Nature 445, 639–642 (2007) DeConto, R. M. & Pollard, D. Nature 421, 245–249 (2003) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7128/full/445607a.h http://www.3dvalley.com/gallery/d/3275-2/moeritherium4.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eocene http://www.mnh.si.edu/anthro/humanorigins/faq/gt/cenozoic/ oligocene.htm http://www.palaeos.com/Cenozoic/Oligocene/Oligocene.htm http://scotese.com/oligocen.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

• Kedar Ghimire

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