Geologica Belgica

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Daan VANHOVE, Peter STASSEN, Robert P. SPEIJER & Etienne STEURBAUT

Assessing paleotemperature and seasonality during the Early Eocene climatic optimum (EECO) in the Belgian basin by means of fish otolith stable O and C isotopes

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Mots-clés : stable isotopes, paleoclimate, North Sea Basin, Otolith, early Eocene, EECO, shallow marine

Abstract

The Paleogene greenhouse world comprises variable paleoclimate conditions providing an indispensable deep-time perspective for the possible effects of human-induced climate change. In this paper, paleotemperature data of the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO) from the mid-latitude marginal marine Belgian Basin are discussed. They are derived from fish otolith δ18O compositions of four non-migratory species belonging to the families Congridae and Ophidiidae. Otoliths from several levels and localities within the middle to late Ypresian were selected. After manual polishing, bulk and incremental microsamples were drilled and analyzed by a mass spectrometer. A cross-plot of bulk otolith δ18O vs. δ13C results shows a discrepancy between both families used. Ophidiid data probably represent true bottom water temperatures of the Belgian Basin. The mean annual temperature (MAT) of the EECO is calculated at 27.5 °C, which is in line with other proxy results. However, variations in MAT up to 6 °C occur, suggesting a pronounced expression of climate variability in mid-latitude marginal basins. Incremental analyses revealed a ~9.5 °C mean annual range of temperatures, similar to modern seasonality. These results show that marginal marine environments such as the Belgian Basin are well suited to infer high-resolution paleoclimate variability.

To cite this article

Daan VANHOVE, Peter STASSEN, Robert P. SPEIJER & Etienne STEURBAUT, «Assessing paleotemperature and seasonality during the Early Eocene climatic optimum (EECO) in the Belgian basin by means of fish otolith stable O and C isotopes», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], volume 14 (2011), number 3-4, 143-158 URL : http://popups.ulg.ac.be/1374-8505/index.php?id=3345.

About: Daan VANHOVE

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, K.U.Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium and Department of Paleontology, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium

About: Peter STASSEN

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, K.U.Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium

About: Robert P. SPEIJER

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, K.U.Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium

About: Etienne STEURBAUT

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, K.U.Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium, and Department of Paleontology, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Vautierstraat 29, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium