Advertisement

Cretaceous Palaeoclimates

  • L. A. Frakes
  • J. E. Francis
Chapter
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 304)

Abstract

The Cretaceous possibly embraced the warmest intervals in earth history, as indicated by distributions of climatically-significant rock types and fossil floras and faunas, and by oxygen isotope determinations. However, the climate was not uniformally warm but consisted of intervals of warming and cooling. The ocean isotope record from foraminifera indicates that a warm phase occurred in the earliest Cretaceous (Berriasian-Valanginian), followed by a peak of warmth in the Albian and a further warming phase during the Coniacian-Santonian. Relatively cool periods occurred in both the early and late Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Aptian and the Cenomanian-Turonian and late Campanian-Maastrichtian, respectively). The plant record from the continents supports this scenario of variability. The early Cretaceous cool interval was characterized by high-latitude ice rafting, which did not occur during the late Cretaceous warm phase. Strongly seasonal climates, suggested for the Cretaceous by numerical modelling experiments are recorded in the growth patterns in fossil wood from both the early (Australia; this paper) and late Cretaceous (Alaska) The lack of proven tillites in the Cretaceous deposits may support the concept of seasonality, in suggesting that ice rafting involved intermittent riverine and marine shore ice rather than the development of permanent glaciers. It is possible, however, that glacial deposits were formed during the Cretaceous but have not yet been discovered, or are undated, or were eroded by glacial or post-glacial processes at basin margins.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arthur, M.A., Dean, W.E. and Schlanger, S.O., 1985. Variations in the global carbon cycle during the Cretaceous in atmospheric CO,,. In Sundquist, E.T. and Broecker, W.S. (eds.). The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO 2 : Natural Variations Archaean to the Present, Geophysical Monograph, 32, 504–530.Google Scholar
  2. Barrera, E., Huber, B.T., Savin, S.M. and Webb, P.N. (1987). Antarctic mrine temperatures: Late Campanian through early Paleocene. Paleoceanography, 2, 21–47.Google Scholar
  3. Barron, E.J. (1983). A warm, equable Cretaceous: the nature of the problem. Earth Science Rev., 19, 305–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barron, E.J. and Washington, W.M. (1982). Cretaceous climate: a comparison of atmospheric simulations with the geologic record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 40, 103–133.Google Scholar
  5. Barron, E.J., Thompson, S.L. and Schneider, S.H. (1981). An ice-free Cretaceous? Results from climate model simulations. Science, 212, 501–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Casey, R. and Rawson, P.F. (1973). The Boreal Lower Cretaceous. Geological Journal, Special Issue. 5, 415–430.Google Scholar
  7. Creber, G.T. and Chaloner, W.G. (1984). Climatic indications from growth rings in fossil woods, in P.J. Brenchley (ed.), Fossil and Climate, John wiley, Chichester, pp. 49–77.Google Scholar
  8. Crowell, J.C. and Frakes, L.A. (1970). Phanerozoic glaciation and the causes of ice ages. American Journal of Science, 268, 193–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dalland, A. (1977). Erratic clasts in the lower Tertiary deposits of Svaldbald–evidence of transport by winter ice. Norsk Polarinstitutt Arbok, 1976, 151–165.Google Scholar
  10. Douglas, R.G. and Savin, S.M. (1975). Oxygen and carbon isotopes of Tertiary and Cretaceous microfossils from Shatsky Rise and other sites in the North Pacific ocean. Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, 32, 509–520.Google Scholar
  11. Douglas, J.G. and Williams, G.E. (1982). Southern polar forests: the early Cretaceous floras of Victoria and their palaeoclimatic significance. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 39, 171–185.Google Scholar
  12. Douglas, R.G. and Woodruff, F (1981). Deep sea benthic foraminifera. In: Emiliani, C. (ed.) The Sea, vol. 7. Wiley - Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Embleton, B.J.J. (1984). In Veevers, J.J., Phanerozoic Earth History of Australia. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 11–16.Google Scholar
  14. Embry, A.F. (1984). Upper Jurassic to lowermost Cretaceous stratigraphy, sedimentology and petroleum geology, Sverdrup basin. CSPG–CSEG National Convention, Calgary, Abst., 49–50.Google Scholar
  15. Epshteyn, O.G. (1978). Mesozoic-Cenozoic climates of northern Asia and glacial-marine deposits. International Geological Review, 20, 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frakes, L.A. (1979) Climates throughout Geologic Time. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 310 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Frakes, L.A. (1986). Mesozoic and Cenozoic oceans, American Geophysical Union, Geodynamics Series, 15, 33–48.Google Scholar
  18. Frakes, L.A. and Bolton, B.R. (1985). Vertical tectonics on the northern margin, Otway Basin. Geol. Soc. Aust., Otway 85, Earth Resources of the Otway BVasin, Abstracts, 7–8.Google Scholar
  19. Frakes, L.A. and Crowell, J.C. (1967). Facies and paleography of Late Paleozoic diamictite, Falkland Islands. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 78, 37–58.Google Scholar
  20. Frakes, L.A. and Crowell, J.C. (1975). Characteristics of modern glacial marine sediments–application to Gondwana glacials. In Gondwana Geology, K.S.W. Campbell, ed., A.N.U. Press, Canberra, 373–329.Google Scholar
  21. Frakes, L.A. and Francis, J.E. (1988). A guide to Phanerozoic cold polar climates from high-latitude ice-rafting in the Cretaceous. Nature, 333, 547–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Frakes, L.A., Berger, D. and 20 others (1987). Australian Cretaceous shorelnies, stage by stage. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeocology 59, 31–48.Google Scholar
  23. Francis, J.E. (1984). The seasonal environment of the Purbeck (Upper Jurassic) fossil forests. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 48, 285–307.Google Scholar
  24. Francis, J.E. (1986). Growth rings in Cretaceous and Tertiary fossil wood from Antarctica and their palaeoclimatic implications. Palaeontology 29, 665–684.Google Scholar
  25. Fritts, H.C. (1976). Tree rings and Climate, Academic Press, London.Google Scholar
  26. Gregory, R.T., Douthitt, C.B., Duddy, I.R., Rich, P.V. and Rich, T.H. (1989). Oxygen isotope composition of carbonate concretions from the Lower Cretaceous of Victoria, Australia: implications for the evolution of meteoric waters on the Australian continent in a paleopolar environment. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 92, 27–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hallam, A. (1985). A review of Mesozoic climates, Journal of the Geological Society of London, 142, 433–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haq, B.H., Hardenbol, J. and Vail, P.R. (1988). Chronology of fluctuating sea levels since the Triassic. Science, 235, 1156–1167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hopgood, L.S. (1987). The taxonomy and palaeoclimatic interpretation of late Mesozoic fossil floras from the south western Eromanga Basin, University of Adelaide, Honours thesis (unpublished).Google Scholar
  30. Hughes, M.K., Kelly, P.M., Pilcher, J.R. and LaMarche, V.C. (1982). Climate from Tree Rings, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jefferson, T.H. (1982). The Early Cretaceous fossil forests of Alexander Island, Antarctica, Palaeontology 25, 681–708.Google Scholar
  32. Kemper, E. (1987). Das klima der Kreide-Zeit, Geologisches Jahrbuch A96, 5–185.Google Scholar
  33. LaMarche, V.C., Holmes, R.L., Dunwiddie,P.W. and Drew, L.G. (1979). Tree-ring chronologies of the Southern Hemisphere, Chronology Series V, Laboratory of TreeRing Research, Arizona.Google Scholar
  34. Lasaga, A.C., Berner, R.A. and Garrels, R.M. (1985). An improved model of atmospheric CO fluctuations over the past 100 million years. In Sundquist, E.T. and Broeker, W.S. (eds). The Carbon Cycle and Atmospheric CO 2 : Natural Variations Archaean to the Present, Geophysical Monograph, 32.Google Scholar
  35. Molenaar, C.M. (1983). Depositional relations of Cretaceous and lower Tertiry rocks, Northeastern Alaska. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 67, 1066–1080.Google Scholar
  36. Parrish, J.T. and Spicer, R.A. (1988a). Late Cretaceous terrestrial vegetation: a near-polar temperature curve. Geology, 16, 22–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parrish, J.T. and Spicer, R.A. (1988b). Middle Cretaceous wood from the Nanushuk Group, central North Slope, Alaska. Palaeontology, 31, 19–34.Google Scholar
  38. Reading, H.G. and Walker, R.G. (1966). Sedimentation of Eocambrian tillites and associated sediments in Finnmark, Northern Norway. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2, 177–212.Google Scholar
  39. Robinson, P.L. (1973). Palaeoclimatology and continental drift. In Tarling, D.H. and Runcorn, S.K. (eds). Implications of continental drift to the Earth Sciences, 1, 449–476.Google Scholar
  40. Schneider, S.H., Thompson, S.L. and Barron, E.J. (1985). Mid-Cretaceous continental surface temperatures: are high CO concentrations needed to simulate above-freezing winter conditions? AGU Geophysical Monograph 32, 554–559.Google Scholar
  41. Smiley, C.J. (1967). Paleoclimatic interpretations of some Mesozoic floral sequences. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologist 51, 849–863.Google Scholar
  42. Smith, A.G., Hurley, A.M. and Briden, J.C. (1981). Phanerozoic Palaeocontinental Maps. Cambridge Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  43. Spicer, R.A. (1987). The significance of the Cretaceous flora of northern Alaska for the reconstruction of the climate of the Cretaceous. Geologisches Jahrbuch A96, 265–291.Google Scholar
  44. Spicer, R.A. and Parrish, J.T. (1986). Palaeobotanical evidence for cool north polar climates in middle Cretaceous ( Albian-Cenomanian) time, Geology 14, 703–706.Google Scholar
  45. Stevens, G.R. (1971). Relationship of isotopic temperatures and faunal realms to Jurassic-Cretaceous paleogeography, particularly of the south-west Pacific. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1, 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vakhrameev, V.A. (1964). The climates of the northern hemisphere in the Cretaceous in the light of palaeobotanical data. (Translated into English.) Paleontology Journal, 1978 /2, 143–154.Google Scholar
  47. Veevers, J.J. (1984). Phanerozoic Earth History of Australia, Oxford Geological Sciences, Series 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  48. Wolfe, J.A. and Upchurch, G.R. (1987). North American nonmarine climates and vegetation during the late Cretaceous. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 61, 33–77.Google Scholar
  49. Woolnough, W.G. and David, T.W. Edgeworth (1926). Cretaceous glaciation in Central Australia, Quaterly Journal of the Geological Society, London, 82, 332–351.Google Scholar
  50. Wopfner, H., Freytag, I.B. and Heath, G.R. (1970). Basal Jurassic to Cretaceous rocks of western Great Artesian Basin, South Australia: stratigraphy and environment, American Association of Petroleum Geologists,Bulletin 54, 383–416.Google Scholar
  51. Young, S.B. (1972). Subantarctic rain forest of Magellanic Chile: distribution, composition, and age and growth rate studies of common forest trees, Antarctic Research Series 20, 307–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. A. Frakes
    • 1
  • J. E. Francis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeophysicsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations