Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of



Christian Berndt, GEOMAR - Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung KielFollow
Sverre Planke, Volcanic Basin Energy Research AS
Carlos A. Alvarez Zarikian, Texas A&M University
Joost Frieling, University of Oxford
Morgan T. Jones, Universitetet i Oslo
John M. Millett, Volcanic Basin Energy Research AS
Henk Brinkhuis, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Stefan Bünz, UiT Norges Arktiske Universitet
Henrik H. Svensen, Universitetet i Oslo
Jack Longman, Universität Oldenburg
Reed P. Scherer, Northern Illinois University
Jens Karstens, GEOMAR - Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel
Ben Manton, Volcanic Basin Energy Research AS
Mei Nelissen, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Brandon Reed, Northern Illinois University
Jan Inge Faleide, Universitetet i Oslo
Ritske S. Huismans, Universitetet i Bergen
Amar Agarwal, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Graham D.M. Andrews, University of Hull
Peter Betlem, Universitetet i Oslo
Joyeeta Bhattacharya, Picarro Inc.
Sayantani Chatterjee, Niigata University
Marialena Christopoulou, Northern Illinois University
Vincent J. Clementi, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences
Eric C. Ferré, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Irina Filina, University of Nebraska - LincolnFollow
Pengyuan Guo, Institute of Oceanology Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dustin T. Harper, University of Utah, College of Mines and Earth Sciences
Sarah Lambart, University of Utah, College of Mines and Earth Sciences
Geoffroy Mohn, Laboratoire Géosciences et Environnement Cergy (GEC)
Reina Nakaoka, Kobe University
Christian Tegner, Aarhus Universitet
Natalia Varela, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Mengyuan Wang, Sun Yat-Sen University

Document Type


Date of this Version



Nature Geoscience 2023



Open access


The Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) was a global warming event of 5–6 °C around 56 million years ago caused by input of carbon into the ocean and atmosphere. Hydrothermal venting of greenhouse gases produced in contact aureoles surrounding magmatic intrusions in the North Atlantic Igneous Province have been proposed to play a key role in the PETM carbon-cycle perturbation, but the precise timing, magnitude and climatic impact of such venting remains uncertain. Here we present seismic data and the results of a five-borehole transect sampling the crater of a hydrothermal vent complex in the Northeast Atlantic. Stable carbon isotope stratigraphy and dinoflagellate cyst biostratigraphy reveal a negative carbon isotope excursion coincident with the appearance of the index taxon Apectodinium augustum in the vent crater, firmly tying the infill to the PETM. The shape of the crater and stratified sediments suggests large-scale explosive gas release during the initial phase of vent formation followed by rapid, but largely undisturbed, diatomite-rich infill. Moreover, we show that these vents erupted in very shallow water across the North Atlantic Igneous Province, such that volatile emissions would have entered the atmosphere almost directly without oxidation to CO2 and at the onset of the PETM.