Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Permian System of Eastern Australia - Atmospheric CO2 Response to Glacial Growth & Decay in Late Palaeozoic Ice Age

The authors1 suggest proxy geochemical records from ice-proximal deposits at high latitudes could potentially provide key insights into icehouse climates of the past, but these records are rare. In eastern Australia the Permian System contains a rich record of changes, climatic and environmental, that occurred in areas close to glaciation, in the acme as well as the waning stages, of the Palaeozoic ice age. A wealth of fine-grained facies rich in organic matter in this succession has provided an opportunity to construct a bulk δ13Corg record that records changes of CO2 through the Permian. Climate changes that were determined independently, based on sedimentological criteria, in the same strata, are tracked by fluctuations of δ13Corg. These patterns are also broadly consistent with multiple proxy records that were derived from palaeoequatorial sites. According to the authors1 the results of their study support recent studies that used sedimentologic and stratigraphic records, from high-latitude ice-proximal locations, and palaeoequatorial proxies, that document that climatic conditions were highly variable within the overall transition from icehouse to greenhouse conditions in the Permian. The authors1 also suggest their results confirm the sedimentary record of glaciation derived from eastern Australia that indicates CO2 global changes occurred on timescales of several million years.


Sources & Further reading

  1. Birgenheier, Lauren P., Tracy D. Frank, Christopher R. Fielding, and Michael C. Rygel. "Coupled Carbon Isotopic and Sedimentological Records from the Permian System of Eastern Australia Reveal the Response of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide to Glacial Growth and Decay During the Late Palaeozoic Ice Age." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 286, no. 34 (2/15/ 2010): 178-93.
Author:Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 02/04/2013

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