Exploring a link between the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum and Neotethys continental arc flare-up

van der Boon, Annique; Kuiper, Klaudia F.; van der Ploeg, Robin; Cramwinckel, Margot J.; Honarmand, Maryam; Sluijs, Appy; Krijgsman, Wout

The Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO), a inline-formula∼500inline-formulakyr episode of global warming that initiated at inline-formula∼ 40.5 inline-formulaMa, is postulated to be driven by a net increase in volcanic carbon input, but a direct source has not been identified. Here we show, based on new and previously published radiometric ages of volcanic rocks, that the interval spanning the MECO corresponds to a massive increase in continental arc volcanism in Iran and Azerbaijan. Ages of Eocene igneous rocks in all volcanic provinces of Iran cluster around 40 inline-formulaMa, very close to the peak warming phase of the MECO. Based on the spatial extent and volume of the volcanic rocks as well as the carbonaceous lithology in which they are emplaced, we estimate the total amount of inline-formulaCO2 that could have been released at this time corresponds to between 1052 and 12 565 inline-formulaPg carbon. This is compatible with the estimated carbon release during the MECO. Although the uncertainty in both individual ages, and the spread in the compilation of ages, is larger than the duration of the MECO, a flare-up in Neotethys subduction zone volcanism represents a plausible excess carbon source responsible for MECO warming.

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van der Boon, Annique / Kuiper, Klaudia F. / van der Ploeg, Robin / et al: Exploring a link between the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum and Neotethys continental arc flare-up. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Annique van der Boon et al.

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