Clay hydroxyl isotopes show an enhanced hydrologic cycle during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

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Hemingway, Jordon D  ORCID logo
Johnston, David T 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pThe Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was an abrupt global warming event associated with a large injection of carbon into the ocean-atmosphere system, as evidenced by a diagnostic carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Evidence also suggests substantial hydrologic perturbations, but details have been hampered by a lack of appropriate proxies. To address this shortcoming, here we isolate and measure the isotopic composition of hydroxyl groups (OHjats:sup−</jats:sup>) in clay minerals from a highly expanded PETM section in the North Sea Basin, together with their bulk oxygen isotope composition. At this location, we show that hydroxyl O- and H-isotopes are less influenced than bulk values by clay compositional changes due to mixing and/or inherited signals and thus better track hydrologic variability. We find that clay OHjats:sup−</jats:sup> hydrogen-isotope values (δjats:sup2</jats:sup>Hjats:subOH</jats:sub>) decrease slowly prior to the PETM and then abruptly by ∼8‰ at the CIE onset. Coincident with an increase in relative kaolinite content, this indicates increased rainfall and weathering and implies an enhanced hydrologic cycle response to global warming, particularly during the early stages of the PETM. Subsequently, δjats:sup2</jats:sup>Hjats:subOH</jats:sub> returns to pre-PETM values well before the end of the CIE, suggesting hydrologic changes in the North Sea were short-lived relative to carbon-cycle perturbations.</jats:p>

Article, /704/106/413, /704/106/242, /140/58, /140/125, article
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Nature Communications
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
EC | EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation H2020 | H2020 Priority Excellent Science | H2020 European Research Council (H2020 Excellent Science - European Research Council) (#339694)
National Science Foundation (NSF) (EAR1839341)
ACS | American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS Petroleum Research Fund) (59455-ND2)