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Scientists connect seawater chemistry with climate change and evolution
Date:7/19/2012

an continues. "This may have led to the demise of the Eocene epoch the warmest period of the modern-day Cenozoic era and the transition from a greenhouse to icehouse climate, culminating in the beginning of the rapid expansion of the Antarctic ice sheet."

The researchers combined data of past seawater sulfur composition, assembled by Paytan in 2004, with Wortmann's recent discovery of the strong link between marine sulfate concentrations and carbon and phosphorus cycling. They were able to explain the seawater sulfate isotope record as a result of massive changes to the accumulation and weathering of gyspum the mineral form of hydrated calcium sulfate.

"While it has been known for a long time that gyspum deposits can be formed and destroyed rapidly, the effect of these processes on seawater chemistry has been overlooked," says Wortmann. "The idea represents a paradigm shift in our understanding of how ocean chemistry changes over time and how these changes are linked to climate."


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Contact: Sean Bettam
s.bettam@utoronto.ca
416-946-7950
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert  

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