EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Shallow-water hydrothermal venting in the North Atlantic during the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum 

Christian Berndt1, Sverre Planke2, Carlos Alvarez Zarikian3, Stefan Bünz4, Jens Karstens1, Henrik Svensen5, Ben Manton2, and the IODP Expedition 396 Scientific Party*
Christian Berndt et al.
  • 1GEOMAR Helmholtz Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Marine Geodynamik, Kiel, Germany (
  • 2Volcanic Basin Petroleum Research AS, Oslo, Norway
  • 3International Ocean Discovery Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA
  • 4Department of Geosciences, University of Tromsø, Norway
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Norway
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

The Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ~56 Ma) was a rapid global warming of 5-6 ºC resulting from massive (>2000 Gigatons) carbon emissions. A potential release mechanism is thermogenic gas from contact metamorphism of carbon-bearing sediments due to magma intrusions into sedimentary basins. Here, we present seismic data and borehole information from the North Atlantic Igneous Province. They show that even in the center of the rift system, water depths were sufficiently shallow to allow most gas released from hydrothermal vent systems to bypass the water column. The shape of the vent craters and stratified infill suggest vigorous explosive gas release during the initial phase of vent formation and rapid shallow marine and largely undisturbed infill thereafter. The recorded negative carbon isotope excursion and occurrence of the index taxon Apectodinium augustum in the crater-infill support assignment to a latest Paleocene to earliest Eocene vent formation. The data support a scenario where magmatic sill emplacement and resulting hydrothermal activity rapidly injected thermogenic greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

IODP Expedition 396 Scientific Party:

Sverre, Planke, Christian Berndt, Carlos Alvarez Zarikian, Amar Agarwal, Graham D.M. Andrews, Peter Betlem, Joyeeta Bhattacharya, Henk Brinkhuis, Sayantani Chatterjee, Marialena Christopoulou, Vincent J. Clementi, Eric C. Ferré, Irina Y. Filina, Joost Frieling, Pengyuan Guo, Dustin T. Harper, Morgan T. Jones, Sarah Lambart, Jack Longman, John M. Millett, Geoffroy T.F. Mohn, Reina Nakaoka, Reed P. Scherer, Christian Tegner, Natalia Varela, Mengyuan Wang, Weimu Xu, Stacy L. Yager

How to cite: Berndt, C., Planke, S., Alvarez Zarikian, C., Bünz, S., Karstens, J., Svensen, H., and Manton, B. and the IODP Expedition 396 Scientific Party: Shallow-water hydrothermal venting in the North Atlantic during the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2359,, 2022.