Just out | Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology @ Biogeosciences

Just out @ Biogeosciences

Improving global paleogeography since the late Paleozoic using paleobiology


Wenchao Cao, Sabin Zahirovic, Nicolas Flament, Simon Williams, Jan Golonka, and R. Dietmar Müller


Paleogeographic reconstructions are important to understand Earth’s tectonic evolution, past eustatic and regional sea level change, hydrocarbon genesis, and to constrain and interpret the dynamic topography predicted by time-dependent global mantle convection models. Several global paleogeographic maps have been compiled and published but they are generally presented as static maps with varying temporal resolution and fixed spatial resolution. Existing global paleogeographic maps are also tied to a particular plate motion model, making it difficult to link them to alternative digital plate tectonic reconstructions. To address this limitation, we developed a workflow to reverse-engineer global paleogeographic maps to their present-day coordinates and enable them to be linked to any tectonic reconstruction. Published paleogeographic compilations are also tied to fixed input datasets. We used fossil data from the Paleobiology Database to identify inconsistencies between fossils paleo-environments and published paleogeographic maps, and to improve the location of inferred terrestrial-marine boundaries by resolving these inconsistencies. As a result, the overall consistency ratio between the paleogeography and fossil collections was improved from 76.9 % to 96.1 %. We estimated the surface areas of global paleogeographic features (shallow marine environments, landmasses, mountains and ice sheets), and reconstructed the global continental flooding history since the late Paleozoic based on the amended paleogeographies. Finally, we discuss the relationships between emerged land area and total continental crust area through time, continental growth models, and strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) signatures in ocean water. Our study highlights the flexibility of digital paleogeographic models linked to state-of-the-art plate tectonic reconstructions in order to better understand the interplay of continental growth and eustasy, with wider implications for understanding Earth’s paleotopography, ocean circulation, and the role of mantle convection in shaping long-wavelength topography.

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READ IT HERE: http://www.biogeosciences-discuss.net/bg-2017-94/

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)