Paleogene calcareous nannofossil record of the Tasmanian gateway

2019-11-21T19:55:11Z (GMT) by Wuchang Wei
The opening of the Tasmanian Gateway between Australia and Antarctica has long been considered a critical element in the initiation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, thermal isolation of Antarctica, and Cenozoic global cooling. The timing for the opening of the gateway to shallow-water circulation and subsequently to deep-water circulation was poorly known, however, and the dating of these events was a major objective of ODP Leg 189. Nannofossil data from Leg 189 sites and DSDP Site 281 in the Tasmanian Gateway suggest a 41-42 Ma age for the initiation of widespread glauconite deposition in the region, which coincided with a sharp drop in sedimentation rate. This is interpreted to be the opening of the gateway to shallow-water circulation, which occurred within the middle of the 51-33 Ma long-term cooling. The change from siliciclastic sediments to pelagic carbonates, the most conspicuous sedimentological and paleontological change in the region for the last 70 Ma and presumably the indicator for the opening of the gateway to deep-water circulation, is dated at about 31 Ma. This event is more than 2 my younger than the major high-latitude cooling in the earliest Oligocene, and thus cannot be the cause for the latter.



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