Using molecular fossils to reconstruct temperature and biogeochemical change in greenhouse climates
  • Room 018, Rolle Building, Plymouth University

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Please note rescheduled date: 29 March 2017

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences organises a regular series of research seminars throughout the academic year to which everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers - both external and internal to the University - will talk on topics related to all aspects of Earth Sciences.

Today's speaker is Dr Gordon Inglis from the University of Bristol.

Throughout the Phanerozoic, and possibly throughout geological time, the Earth’s climate has oscillated between 'greenhouse' and 'icehouse' climate states. The most recent 'greenhouse' interval occurred during the early Eocene (56-48 Myr ago) and was associated with high CO2 concentrations, high sea surface temperature estimates and the absence of continental ice sheets. However, our understanding of terrestrial climate during this interval is poorly constrained.

Palaeobotanical techniques have previously been used to reconstruct early Eocene temperatures; however, these results are restricted to a few, well-sampled regions and provide only a "snapshot" of climate. More recently, bacterial-derived branched GDGTs have been used to reconstruct terrestrial temperature during the early Paleogene. 

However, the application of this proxy in coal deposits is unknown. Using a sequence of early Eocene lignites recovered from Germany (∼48°N palaeolatitude), we present the first long-term temperature record from continental Europe through the early Eocene. In light of these results, we then investigate the impact of higher temperatures upon terrestrial hydrology and biogeochemistry.

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