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Severe late Miocene droughts affected western Eurasia
Butiseaca, G.A.; Vasiliev, I.; Van der Meer, M.T.J.; Krijgsman, W.; Palcu, D.V.; Feurdean, A.; Niedermeyer, E.M.; Mulch, A. (2021). Severe late Miocene droughts affected western Eurasia. Global Planet. Change 206: 103644.
In: Global and Planetary Change. Elsevier: Amsterdam; New York; Oxford; Tokyo. ISSN 0921-8181; e-ISSN 1872-6364, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Paratethys isolation; Late Miocene droughts; Vegetation shift; Biomarkers; Isotope geochemistry

Auteurs  Top 
  • Butiseaca, G.A.
  • Vasiliev, I.
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., meer
  • Krijgsman, W.
  • Palcu, D.V.
  • Feurdean, A.
  • Niedermeyer, E.M.
  • Mulch, A.

    A large and highly dynamic aquatic system called Paratethys governed important elements of the middle and late Miocene (15.97–5.33 Ma) hydrology in western Eurasia. So far, the impact of the vast Paratethys water body on the Eurasian climate, however, is not yet understood. Here we apply biomarker analyses coupled to compound-specific hydrogen and carbon isotope data to track changes in sea surface temperature, mean annual air temperature, hydrological budget and vegetation changes to reconstruct long-term western Eurasian climate conditions between 12.7 and 7.65 Ma in the Black Sea region. Biomarker data from Panagia (Russia) indicate the presence of three exceptionally evaporative intervals peaking at 9.65, 9.4 and 7.9 Ma. These peaks in evaporation relate to aridity, parallel increasing fire activity and are associated with changes in vegetation. Carbon isotope and pollen data support the evidence of an increase in C4 plants associated with these dry intervals. At 9.66 Ma, alkenone producing algae appear in the basin and thrive for the subsequent two million years. Cumulative fluctuations in both hydrology and surface temperature of Paratethys might have enhanced rainfall seasonality in western Eurasia as a response to changes in evaporation over the Paratethys basin. Our combined data suggest a strong regional imprint on overall climate patterns, dominated by basin dynamics causing Paratethys volume and surface reduction. Collectively, the presented biomarker results provide evidence of severe droughts affecting the late Miocene circum-Paratethys region, leading to a direct impact on the evolution of biota in the basin and its surroundings.

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