The early Danian hyperthermal event at Boltysh (Ukraine): relation to Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary events

Gilmour, Iain; Jolley, David; Kemp, David; Kelley, Simon; Gilmour, Mabs; Daly, Rob and Widdowson, Mike (2014). The early Danian hyperthermal event at Boltysh (Ukraine): relation to Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary events. In: Keller, Gerta and Kerr, Andrew C. eds. Volcanism, Impacts, and Mass Extinctions: Causes and Effects. Geological Society of America Special Papers (505). Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, pp. 133–146.



The Boltysh meteorite impact crater formed in the Ukrainian Shield on the margin of the Tethys Ocean a few thousand years before the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary and was rapidly filled by a freshwater lake. Sediments filling the lake vary from early lacustrine turbidites and silts to ~300 m of fine silts, organic carbon–rich muds, oil shales, and lamenites that record early Danian terrestrial climate signals at high temporal resolution. Combined carbon isotope and palynological data show that the fine-grained organic carbon–rich lacustrine sediments preserve a uniquely complete and detailed negative carbon isotope excursion in an expanded section of several hundred meters.

The position of the carbon isotope excursion in the early Danian stage of the Paleogene period, around 200 k.y. above the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, leads us to correlate it to the Dan-C2 carbon isotope excursion recorded in marine sediments of the same age. The more complete Boltysh carbon isotope excursion record indicates a δ13C shift of around -3‰, but also a more extended recovery period, strikingly similar in pattern to the highest fidelity carbon isotope excursion records available for the Toarcian and Paleocene-Eocene hyperthermal events. Changes in floral communities through the carbon isotope excursion recorded at Boltysh reflect changing biomes caused by rapidly warming climate, followed by recovery, indicating that this early Danian hyperthermal event had a similar duration to the Toarcian and Paleocene-Eocene events.

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