Rock Weathering and its Influence on Climate – #365papers – 2017 – 125

#365papers for May 5, 2017

Godderis, Donnadieu, Carretier, Aretz, Dera, Macouin, and Regard, 2017 Onset and ending of the late Palaeozoic ice age triggered by tehtonically paced rock weathering: Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2931

What’s it about?

Many hypotheses have been put forward to explain global glaciation that happened toward the end of the Paleozoic (started around 340-330 million years ago and ended around 290 million years ago). This paper explores the hypothesis that uplift and subsequent erosion of the ancient Hercynian orogeny (mountain belt) which once straddled the equator may have played an important role.

Why does it matter?

We live in a time of glacial episodes. Based on models of the influence of the sun and various parameters about Earth’s orbit around it, we should be entering into another ice age. This paper shows that orbital parameters are not the only influence on ice ages, nor are the rearrangements of continents on the Earth’s surface. Vertical uplift may play an important role in the onset and termination of glacial events.

Why did I read this?

I’ve read a lot about the timing of glacial events tied to orbital parameters (orbital pacing, it is sometimes called), so I was interested to know what was meant by ‘tectonic pacing.’

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