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A re-compiling of Cretaceous SST proxy data


, : A re-compiling of Cretaceous SST proxy data. Mineralogical Magazine 75.3: 1737

The Cretaceous was generally a period of extreme global warmth, most likely caused by elevated atmospheric pCO2 levels, during which geologically brief (<1 Myr duration) carbon-cycle perturbations were common. Thus, the geological record of this time period may hold clues as to the mechanics of the Earth system under different conditions to those experienced at the present-day and, also, to the long-term response of the planet to severe environmental perturbation. However, extraction of meaningful inferences about the Earth system from the Cretaceous geological record requires confidence in the proxies used to reconstruct environmental variables, such as temperature and pCO2 . The last decade has seen significant shifts in the understanding and number of geochemical proxies used to reconstruct sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) in the Cretaceous. The recognition of early bottom-water recrystallization of planktic foraminifera has resulted in the re-appraisal of what is considered 'excellent' calcite preservation suitable for oxygen-isotope and Mg/Ca analysis. Organic geochemistry has provided a new proxy, TEX(86) , that has permitted the generation of SST records in time periods and environments that were previously unobtainable by calcite d18 O. Additional insights have been provided by d18 O of phoshate from biogenic apatites and new water-phosphate fractionation equations have been defined. These new insights and developments provide the justification for a re-appraisal of the temporal and spatial variability in Cretaceous SSTs. We attempt here to provide an up-to-date synthesis of Cretaceous proxy SST data that is mindful of the lessons and developments of the last decade. Using this new compilation allows us to build a more comprehensive view of Cretaceous palaeoclimates and to explore a number of questions that are pertinent both to Cretaceous palaeoclimatology and wider inferences about the mechanics of the Earth system.

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