EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Large-scale siliciclastic input during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in the North Sea Basin

Simin Jin1, David Kemp1, David Jolley2, Manuel Vieira3, and Chunju Huang1
Simin Jin et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology and School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, P.R. China
  • 2Department of Geology & Geophysics, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, UK
  • 3Shell UK Ltd., 1 Altens Farm Road, Nigg, Aberdeen, AB12 3FY, UK

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ~56 Ma) was the most marked climate warming event of the Cenozoic, and a potentially useful deep time analogue for understanding environmental responses to anthropogenic carbon emissions and associated warming. The response of sedimentary systems to the large-scale climate changes of the PETM are, however, still uncertain. Here, we present an extremely thick (~140 m) record of the PETM in cores from a well in the North Sea, offshore UK. In this well, a thick Paleocene-Eocene interval is developed owing to uplift of the East Shetland Platform in the late Paleocene. Carbon isotope data through this well, coupled with detailed sedimentological analysis, show that the PETM interval is contemporaneous with >200 sandstone turbidites layers. Mud deposition without turbidites dominated sedimentation below and above the PETM. These observations support previous work from other localities highlighting how climate warming during the PETM likely drove substantial changes in hydrological cycling, erosion and sediment supply. Spectral analysis of turbidite recurrence in the PETM interval suggests that the abundance of turbidites was modulated in part by ~21 kyr astronomical precession climate cycles, further emphasizing a potential climatic control on turbidite sedimentation. In detail, we note a kiloyear-scale time lag between onset of the PETM carbon isotope excursion and the appearance of turbidites in the succession, highlighting a delay between PETM carbon release and warming and the basin-wide response in sediment supply.

How to cite: Jin, S., Kemp, D., Jolley, D., Vieira, M., and Huang, C.: Large-scale siliciclastic input during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in the North Sea Basin, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3731,, 2021.