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Wet tropical climate in SE Tibet during the Late Eocene

Abstract : Cenozoic climate cooling at the advent of the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT), similar to 33.7 Ma ago, was stamped in the ocean by a series of climatic events albeit the impact of this global climatic transition on terrestrial environments is still fragmentary. Yet archival constraints on Late Eocene atmospheric circulation are scarce in (tropical) monsoonal Asia, and the paucity of terrestrial records hampers a meaningful comparison of the long- term climatic trends between oceanic and continental realms. Here we report new sedimentological data from the Jianchuan basin (SE Tibet) arguing for wetter climatic conditions in monsoonal Asia at similar to 35.5 Ma almost coevally to the aridification recognized northwards in the Xining basin. We show that the occurrence of flash-flood events in semi-arid to sub-humid palustrine-sublacustrine settings preceded the development of coal-bearing deposits in swampylike environments, thus paving the way to a more humid climate in SE Tibet ahead from the EOT. We suggest that this moisture redistribution possibly reflects more northern and intensified ITCZ-induced tropical rainfall in monsoonal Asia around 35.5 Ma, in accordance with recent sea-surface temperature reconstructions from equatorial oceanic records. Our findings thus highlight an important period of climatic upheaval in terrestrial Asian environments similar to 2-4 millions years prior to the EOT.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 30, 2020 - 8:45:05 AM
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Philippe Sorrel, Ines Eymard, Philippe-Hervé Leloup, Gweltaz Maheo, Nicolas Olivier, et al.. Wet tropical climate in SE Tibet during the Late Eocene. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, ⟨10.1038/s41598-017-07766-9⟩. ⟨hal-02329511⟩



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