Northeastern Section - 47th Annual Meeting (1820 March 2012)
Paper No. 45-6
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM-10:00 AM


BEARD, James Andrew, Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, 204 Heroy Geology Lab, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13224,, IVANY, Linda C., Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244, and RUNNEGAR, Bruce, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567

The early Permian transition from an icehouse to greenhouse world is archived in the sedimentary record of southeastern Australia. Stable isotope geochemistry of well-preserved fossil carbonates provides an opportunity to peer into the climate of this transitional world. Nine specimens of the bivalve Eurydesma, spanning roughly 11° of paleolatitude (North Sydney Basin, New South Wales to Hobart, Tasmania), were sequentially microsampled for stable isotope values in order to resolve seasonal variation and how it varied with latitude. δ13C values show only ~1‰ of seasonal variability and are in agreement with published, characteristically heavy values for the early Permian. δ18O varies regularly, and positive isotope values correspond to growth banding in the shells, suggest slower growth in the winter months. Seasonality has the greatest amplitude at the lower latitudes in the North Sydney Basin (3.2‰) as well as the least negative mean δ18O of -0.7‰, while the higher latitude samples have the lowest degree of seasonality (1.6‰) and a mean δ18O of -1.8‰. The trend toward decreasing seasonal range in water temperature approaching the poles is similar to that seen today at high latitudes and provides further support that the data are representative of primary conditions during the Permian deglaciation. However, δ18O values are more negative than expected for a high-latitude glacial climate and require further explanation. Shell microtextures and trace element geochemistry do not support an explanation based on diagenetic alteration. Warm paleotemperatures calculated assuming an ocean water composition of ~0‰ do not agree with independent cold-water indicators such as dropstones and glendonites that have led to the classic interpretation of Eurydesma as a cold-water bivalve. Mixing with isotopically negative freshwater is a possibility but seems unlikely given the positive values of, and low variation in, δ13C; the consistency of seasonal cycles in δ18O within shells and the paleoecology of the associated fauna, both of which are more consistent with normal marine conditions. The remaining explanation - a more isotopically negative ocean - is a contentious hypothesis. Additional sampling across latitude may help to resolve these uncertainties.

Northeastern Section - 47th Annual Meeting (1820 March 2012)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 45
Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography, Quaternary Geology, Geomorphology
Hartford Marriott Downtown: Capital Room 1
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 104

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