Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Petrizzo, M. R., MacLeod, K. G., Watkins, D. K., Wolfgring, E., & Huber, B. T. (2022). Late Cretaceous paleoceanographic evolution and the onset of cooling in the Santonian at southern high latitudes (IODP Site U1513, SE Indian Ocean). Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 37, e2021PA004353. https://doi. org/10.1029/2021PA004353


Open access.


The latest Cenomanian to Santonian sedimentary record recovered at IODP Expedition 369 Site U1513 in the Mentelle Basin (SE Indian Ocean, paleolatitude 60°S at 85 Ma) is studied to interpret the paleoceanographic evolution in the Southern Hemisphere. The planktonic foraminiferal assemblage changes, the depth ecology preferences of different species, and the surface and seafloor temperature inferred from the stable isotopic values measured on foraminiferal tests provide meaningful information to the understanding of the Late Cretaceous climate. The hothouse climate during the Turonian-Santonian, characterized by weak latitudinal temperature gradients and high atmospheric CO2 concentrations, is followed by a progressive cooling during the Campanian. At Site U1513 the beginning of this climatic transition is nicely recorded within the Santonian, as indicated by an ∼1‰ increase in δ18O values of planktonic foraminifera suggesting a decline in surface water paleotemperatures of 4°C. The onset of cooling is mirrored by changes in the planktonic foraminiferal assemblages including extinctions among surface and deep dwellers, appearances and diversification of newly evolving taxa, and changes from predominantly epifaunal oxic to infaunal dysoxic/ suboxic taxa among co-occurring benthic foraminifera. Overall, the data presented here document an interval in the Santonian during which the rate of southern high latitude cooling increased. Both surface and bottom waters were affected, although the cooling signal is more evident in the data for surface waters. This pattern of cooling ascribes the deterioration of the Late Cretaceous climate to decreased CO2 in the atmosphere and changes in the oceanic circulation correlated with enhanced meridional circulation.