University of Cambridge > > Department of Earth Sciences Seminars (downtown) > Towards a 500 Million-Year History of Earth’s Atmospheric CO2

Towards a 500 Million-Year History of Earth’s Atmospheric CO2

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Rachael Rhodes.

Earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration for the Phanerozoic Eon (the last 540 million years) has been estimated from proxies and models with varying degrees of success, resulting in considerable discrepancies between estimates. Recent advances in applying boron isotopes to foraminifera have revolutionised our understanding of Cenozoic CO2 levels (the last 66 million years) leading to a growing consensus for Earth’s more recent history. However, questions remain about the limitations of the boron isotope proxy as dependent on the extent of preservation of marine sediments and, consequently, deep-time boron-based reconstructions from Earth’s rock record have been regarded as controversial. In this talk, I will make the case that the boron isotope composition of well-preserved brachiopod shells provides a robust tool for extending our knowledge of CO2 throughout the Phanerozoic, and by showcasing new Mesozoic and Palaeozoic records I will review the role of CO2 in Earth’s major climate transitions and mass extinction events.

This talk is part of the Department of Earth Sciences Seminars (downtown) series.

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