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Stable Middle Miocene seawater isotopes in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean
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  • Katrin Hättig,
  • Stefan Schouten,
  • Stephen Louwye,
  • Marcel van der Meer
Katrin Hättig
Royal NIOZ

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Stefan Schouten
Royal NIOZ
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Stephen Louwye
University of Ghent
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Marcel van der Meer
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
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The Middle Miocene is characterized by a long-term increase in the oxygen isotopes of benthic foraminifera (δ18Obenthic). However, it is unclear to what extent this increase reflects changes in seawater isotopes or deep water temperature. We present a high-resolution alkenone hydrogen isotope (δ2HC37) record of the middle Miocene from a core taken at the upper slope edge (about 409 m water depth) of the Porcupine Basin continental margin in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, Site U1318 of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The δ2HC37 values vary between -174 to -200‰ with an average of -191 ±5‰, similar to modern open-ocean values. Importantly, it does not show a long-term increase in surface seawater isotopes (δ2HSSW) during the Middle Miocene Climate Transition. Indeed, when δ18Obenthic is corrected for subsurface temperature, the average bottom seawater oxygen isotopes of 0.9 ±0.2‰ also show no significant increase. When the latter record is translated into hydrogen isotopes of bottom seawater using the modern open-ocean waterline, it shows an average value of 5.8 ±1.5‰ similar to the δ2HSSW of 5.2 ±3.1‰ derived from δ2HC37 suggesting relatively small difference between bottom and surface waters. Our results suggest a stable global surface seawater isotope evolution during the Middle Miocene, coupled with a long-term decrease in bottom water temperature.
21 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
24 Jan 2024Published in ESS Open Archive