GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 38-4
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM


TRAYLER, Robin1, BARGO, M. Susana2, CUITIÑO, José3, KAY, Richard4, KOHN, Matthew J.5, SCHMITZ, Mark D.6, STROMBERG, Caroline A.E.7 and VIZCAÍNO, Sergio2, (1)Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, CA 95343, (2)División Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo de La Plata, Unidades de Investigación, (CIC and CONICET), La Plata, Argentina, (3)Instituto Patagónico de Geología y Paleontología, CENPAT‐ CONICET, Puerto Madryn, Argentina, (4)Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, (5)Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725-1535, (6)Department of Geosciences, Boise State University, Boise, ID 83725, (7)Department of Biology, University of Washington, 253 LSB, Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195-1800

Reconstructing past climates frequently requires combining quasi-continuous climate proxy records (e.g., geochemical data, fossils) with stratigraphically sparse geochronology (U-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar). Convolving these two data types often requires constructing continuous models that link age and stratigraphic position (depth). Classical statistical methods of constructing age-depth models lead to unrealistically small uncertainties and do not account for real-world geologic complexities. For this reason, Bayesian age-depth models have largely superseded classical methods. Existing Bayesian models can simultaneously account for absolute age, relative age (superposition), sedimentation rates and astrochronology. More recent efforts further account for geologic complexities such as magmatic crystal populations, detrital zircon ages, magnetostratigraphy and chemostratigraphy. Here we combine U-Pb geochronology and stable isotope data (δ13C, δ18O) of fossil teeth from the Santa Cruz Formation (SCF), Argentina, to investigate climatic change during the Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO).

The MCO is the most recent period of warm, wet conditions in the Cenozoic with atmospheric CO2 concentrations similar to projections of the next decades. SCF sediments span the initiation of the MCO (~17.4 - 16.4 Ma) and offer the opportunity to investigate the response of terrestrial climates to increasing CO2 and global temperatures in a unique, southern high-latitude site. We applied a Bayesian model (modified from “Bchron”) to create an age-depth model for SCF sediments. We propagated model ages and uncertainties onto our stable isotope data using a Monte Carlo method to create a continuous record of mean annual precipitation (MAP) and temperature (MAT) with associated errors. δ13C-based estimates of MAP indicate aridification at the MCO onset before rebounding as global temperatures increased. δ18O-based MAT estimates are high (at least 20°C) and reach ~25°C by 16.4 Ma, about 12 - 17°C warmer than today. Taken together, these data show a more complex manifestation of the MCO in southern Patagonia than recognized elsewhere, and point to the importance of detailed regional studies for better understanding global warming events.