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A Cenozoic-style scenario for the end-Ordovician glaciation

Abstract : The end-Ordovician was an enigmatic interval in the Phanerozoic, known for massive glaciation potentially at elevated CO 2 levels, biogeochemical cycle disruptions recorded as large isotope anomalies and a devastating extinction event. Ice-sheet volumes claimed to be twice those of the Last Glacial Maximum paradoxically coincided with oceans as warm as today. Here we argue that some of these remarkable claims arise from undersampling of incomplete geological sections that led to apparent temporal correlations within the relatively coarse resolution capability of Palaeozoic biochronostratigraphy. We examine exceptionally complete sedimentary records from two, low and high, palaeolatitude settings. Their correlation framework reveals a Cenozoic-style scenario including three main glacial cycles and higher-order phenomena. This necessitates revision of mechanisms for the end-Ordovician events, as the first extinction is tied to an early phase of melting, not to initial cooling, and the largest d 13 C excursion occurs during final deglaciation, not at the glacial apex.
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Jean-François Ghienne, André Desrochers, T.R.A. Vandenbroucke, Aïcha Achab, Esther Asselin, et al.. A Cenozoic-style scenario for the end-Ordovician glaciation. Nature Communications, Nature Publishing Group, 2014, 5, pp.art n°4485. ⟨10.1038/ncomms5485⟩. ⟨insu-01061400⟩

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