During the late Eocene, the Earth’s climate experienced several transient temperature fluctuations including the Vonhof cooling event (C16n.1n; ~35.8 Ma) hitherto known mainly from the southern oceans. Here we reconstruct sea-surface temperatures (SST) and provide δ 18 O and δ 13 C foraminiferal records for the late Eocene and earliest Oligocene in the North Sea Basin. Our data reveal two main perturbations: (1), an abrupt brief cooling of ~4.5 °C dated to ~35.8 Ma and synchronous with the Vonhof cooling, which thus may be a global event, and (2) a gradual nearly 10 °C temperature fall starting at 36.1 Ma and culminating near the Eocene-Oligocene transition at ~33.9 Ma. The late Priabonian temperature trend in the North Sea shows some resemblance IODP Site U1404 from the North Atlantic, offshore Newfoundland; and is in contrast to the more abrupt change observed in the deep-sea δ 18 O records from the southern oceans. The cooling in the North Sea is large compared to the pattern seen in the North Atlantic record. This difference may be influenced by a late Eocene closure of the warm gateways connecting the North Sea with the Atlantic and Tethys oceans.
- Programområde 5: Natur og klima