Decarbonization related to continental arc magmatism as a possible mechanism for Cretaceous warming
Author(s)Brunner, Anna Elizabeth
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
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Elevated concentrations of CO₂ have been proposed as the reason that the Cretaceous climate was 6-14°C warmer than the present, however the source of Cretaceous CO₂ is unknown [Barron, 1983]. This study examines the possibility of continental arc magmatism as a mechanism for CO2 release, specifically as a volatile produced during crustal assimilation and contact metamorphism of carbonates around plutons. Bedrock maps of the North American Cordillera (a region of active continental arc magmatism during the Cretaceous), the relative locations of the carbonates, the Cretaceous plutons, and the calculated "decarbonation zones"around the plutons. These measurements were then input in a thermal and petrologoical model in order to estimate the quantity of CO₂ released by continental arc magmatism. Testing a number of cases with varying parameters, the model found the arc-magmatism-induced temperature difference between the present and Cretaceous global climates to have a lower limit of [Delta]T < 1°C and an upper limit of 5.1 < [Delta]T < 12.3°C. Decarbonation from continental arc magmatism is shown to be a possible mechanism of paleoclimatic warming, and more work is required to either confirm or refute the hypothesis.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 53-56).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.