EGU23-4645, updated on 22 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Assessing volcanism during the PETM based on mercury isotope and abundance data

Simin Jin1, David Kemp1, Runsheng Yin2, Ruiyang Sun2, Jun Shen3, David Jolley4, Manuel Vieira5, and Chunju Huang1
Simin Jin et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology and Hubei Key Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550081, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, Hubei, 430074, P.R. China
  • 4Department of Geology & Geophysics, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, UK
  • 5GEOBIOTEC, Department of Earth Sciences, NOVA School of Science and Technology, Campus de Caparica, P-2829 516 Caparica, Portugal

The Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, ∼56 Ma) was an abrupt hyperthermal event that has been linked to carbon release from volcanism associated with the North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). Anomalously high sedimentary mercury (Hg) concentrations, a proxy for volcanism, have been recorded across the PETM from some locations, supporting this link. Nevertheless, Hg concentration data alone offer little insight into emplacement mechanisms and carbon source(s), and can be influenced by depositional conditions and post-depositional alteration. To help address this issue, and more critically evaluate the efficacy of Hg as a volcanism proxy, Hg-isotope data have been obtained across a thick, deep-marine sedimentary record of the PETM from the North Sea that was deposited in close proximity to active NAIP volcanism. These data are combined with a new global compilation of Hg concertation data across the PETM, which includes new Hg concentration data obtained from five globally distributed sites. Analysis of all the data demonstrates extensive and at least intercontinental Hg enrichments during the onset of the PETM carbon-isotope excursion, and that this was related to a major transient pulse of extrusive volcanism. Hg-isotope data support protracted volcanism through the PETM, but the evidence for sustained Hg enrichment from volcanism through the entirety of the PETM is equivocal. Towards the end of, and after, the PETM, the data suggest an overall waning influence of volcanogenic Hg.

How to cite: Jin, S., Kemp, D., Yin, R., Sun, R., Shen, J., Jolley, D., Vieira, M., and Huang, C.: Assessing volcanism during the PETM based on mercury isotope and abundance data, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4645,, 2023.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary material file