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Environmental change across a terrestrial Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary section in eastern Montana, USA, constrained by carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry

Tobin, Thomas S. and Wilson, Gregory P. and Eiler, John M. and Hartman, Joseph H. (2014) Environmental change across a terrestrial Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary section in eastern Montana, USA, constrained by carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry. Geology, 42 (4). pp. 351-354. ISSN 0091-7613. doi:10.1130/G35262.1. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140422-083913582

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Abstract

The Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction has been attributed to the impact of a large bolide at the end of the Cretaceous Period, although other potential causes have also been proposed, most notably climate change caused by Deccan Traps (India) flood volcanism. Reconstructing paleoclimate, particularly in terrestrial settings, has been hindered by a lack of reliable proxies. The recent development of carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry has contributed to temperature reconstructions using geochemical proxies in terrestrial settings. We employ this method, along with new stratigraphic constraints, in the Hell Creek (Cretaceous) and overlying Fort Union (Paleogene) Formations (Montana, USA) to examine changes in temperature leading to and across the K-Pg boundary. We demonstrate that well-preserved ca. 66 Ma aragonitic bivalves serve as suitable paleoclimate archives. Although there are limitations in the stratigraphic availability of fossil bivalves for clumped isotope analysis, we record an apparent 8 °C decrease in summer temperatures over the last 300 k.y. of the Cretaceous that corresponds broadly with patterns observed in other paleotemperature proxies. This observed decrease plausibly could be explained by an absolute temperature decrease or by other environmental stresses on the organisms, but in either case suggests changing living conditions over the interval. Previously documented declines in vertebrate and invertebrate biodiversity occur over the same stratigraphic interval at this study location. These results are consistent with published models of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction in which destabilized ecosystems become more susceptible to an abrupt event like a bolide impact.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/42/4/351.abstractPublisherArticle
http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G35262.1DOIArticle
http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/content/42/4/351PublisherArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Tobin, Thomas S.0000-0003-0992-7809
Additional Information:© 2014 Geological Society of America. First published online February 24, 2014. Data Repository item 2014132. Manuscript received 4 November 2013. Revised manuscript received 27 January 2014. Manuscript accepted 28 January 2014. We thank D. DeMar, Jr., L. DeBey, S. Donohue, and S. Schoepfer for assistance in the field, and W. Daniel (Louisiana State University) for collection of modern Unionidae. We also thank R. and E. Meyn, Co. and Ca. Murnion, S. Harbaugh, J. McKeever, C. McKeever, B. Engdahl, J. Engdahl, and W.A. Clemens for their hospitality and guidance. We thank the C.M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Culture for special use permits. We thank K. Huntington and N. Kitchen for assistance and discussion. Research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant 0643394, the NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program, and by the University of Washington Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Department of Biology, and Department of Earth and Space Sciences, and the Chevron Corporation.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF0643394
NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship programUNSPECIFIED
University of WashingtonUNSPECIFIED
Chevron CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
DOI:10.1130/G35262.1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140422-083913582
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20140422-083913582
Official Citation: Thomas S. Tobin, Gregory P. Wilson, John M. Eiler, and Joseph H. Hartman Environmental change across a terrestrial Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary section in eastern Montana, USA, constrained by carbonate clumped isotope paleothermometry Geology, April 2014, v. 42, p. 351-354, first published on February 24, 2014, doi:10.1130/G35262.1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:45099
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:22 Apr 2014 16:19
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:00

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