EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Volcanically driven short-term, regional-scale cooling during the early Paleogene Greenhouse?

Madeleine L. Vickers1, Stefano M. Bernasconi2, Francien Peterse3, Appy Sluijs3, Clemens V. Ullmann4, Jack Longman5, Ella Wulfsberg Stokke1, Joost Frieling6, David Bajnai7, Vincent J. Clementi8, Dustin Harper9, Mei Nelissen10, Henk Brinkhuis10, Sverre Planke1, Morgan T. Jones1, and IODP Expedition Science Party11
Madeleine L. Vickers et al.
  • 1Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1028 Blindern, 0315 Oslo, Norway
  • 2ETH Zurich, Geologisches Institut, Sonneggstrasse 5, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 4Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn TR10 9FE, U.K.
  • 5Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 7University of Göttingen, Geoscience Center, Dept. of Geochemistry and Isotope Geology, Goldschmidtstr. 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
  • 8Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, U.S.A.
  • 9University of Utah, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, 115 S 1460 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, U.S.A.
  • 10NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Ocean Systems research, Den Burg, Texel, Netherlands
  • 11Expedition 396 shipboard scientists as listed in Preliminary Report - Planke, S., Berndt, C., & Zarikian, C. A. A. (2022)

Sediment cores from the Mid-Norwegian Margin, IODP Expedition 396 recovered several glendonite (calcite) pseudomorphs after cold-water ikaite, CaCO3•6H2O, within sediments deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum hyperthermal and the early Eocene greenhouse. This presents an apparent climate paradox, since during this time interval, deep sea bottom water temperatures are not believed to have been lower than c. 10 °C anywhere on Earth, mostly much warmer (Meckler et al., 2022 and references therein), far above temperatures typical for natural ikaite formation (Vickers et al., 2022 and references therein). The glendonites are found in close association with ash horizons from the nearby North Atlantic large igneous province (NAIP), with some actually in the infill of a hydrothermal. This, coupled with the presence of glendonites in sediments of the same age from Svalbard and Denmark (Spielhagen and Tripati, 2009; Vickers et al., 2020), may point to volcanically-driven climate and environmental changes in this region, perhaps on temporal and spatial scales hitherto unresolved by global-scale datasets.


Here, we present reconstructed ikaite crystallisation temperatures from clumped isotope palaeothermometry and biomarker sea surface and air temperature reconstructions from glendonite-bearing horizons in ash-rich sediments at four IODP Expedition 396 sites. We find that the glendonites indicate bottom water temperatures considerably lower than the majority of other localities so far studied for this time interval (0 – 10 °C). The biomarker signals are harder to interpret, but may indicate sea surface and air temperatures significantly lower than many other studies across this time interval. We discuss possible causes and mechanisms for this cooling, and the conditions driving ikaite growth, focussing on whether these both may be linked to NAIP volcanism.

How to cite: Vickers, M. L., Bernasconi, S. M., Peterse, F., Sluijs, A., Ullmann, C. V., Longman, J., Stokke, E. W., Frieling, J., Bajnai, D., Clementi, V. J., Harper, D., Nelissen, M., Brinkhuis, H., Planke, S., Jones, M. T., and Science Party, I. E.: Volcanically driven short-term, regional-scale cooling during the early Paleogene Greenhouse?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5465,, 2023.