Climate History from Deep Sea Sediments

Michael Taber, Colorado College,, Author
Cinzia Cervato, Iowa State University, Scientist
William Ryan, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Scientist and Application Developer
Robert Arko, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Systems Analyst and Data Manager
Doug Fils, Iowa State University, Data Manager
Victor Fitzjarrald, Harrison High School, Colorado Springs, CO, Educator

Published: September 2010. Last updated: July 2011.


Screen capture of Virtual Ocean software. Click image for a larger view.

This chapter focuses on reconstructing the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), which occurred between 50 to 60 million years ago. The PETM provides scientists with a glimpse of the effect of a relatively abruptgeologically speakingglobal warming. Data about this event, obtained from oceanic sediment cores, is particularly clear and useful in determining climate history.

In this chapter, you will access Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) core data with Virtual Ocean software. First, you will identify appropriate bathymetric depths for finding desired marine sediments. Then, you will locate potential core, log, and seismic data to map the marine sediment biostratigraphy. Last, you will download and examine ocean floor core data from the CHRONOS data portal to search for a specific planktonic foraminifera, Acarinina praepentacamerata, that prefers near-surface (warmer) ocean conditions.

This chapter is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Each chapter provides teachers and/or students with direct practice for using scientific tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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