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Hadley circulation and precipitation changes controling black shale deposition in the Late Jurassic Boreal Seaway

Armstrong, Howard A.; Wagner, Thomas; Herringshaw, Liam G.; Farnsworth, Alexander J.; Lunt, Daniel J.; Harland, Melise; Imber, Jonathan; Loptson, Claire; Atar, Elizabeth F.L.


Howard A. Armstrong

Thomas Wagner

Liam G. Herringshaw

Alexander J. Farnsworth

Daniel J. Lunt

Melise Harland

Jonathan Imber

Claire Loptson

Elizabeth F.L. Atar


New climate simulations using the HadCM3L model with a paleogeography of the Late Jurassic (155.5 Ma) and proxy-data corroborate that warm and wet tropical-like conditions reached as far north as the UK sector of the Jurassic Boreal Seaway (~35°N). This is associated with a northern hemisphere Jurassic Hadley cell and an intensified subtropical jet which both extend significantly poleward than in the modern (July–September). Deposition of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (KCF) occurred in the shallow, storm-dominated, epeiric Boreal Seaway. High-resolution paleo-environmental proxy data from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (KCF; ~155–150 Ma), UK, are used to test for the role of tropical atmospheric circulation on meter-scale heterogeneities in black shale deposition. Proxy and model data show that the most organic-rich section (eudoxus to mid-hudlestoni zones) is characterized by a positive δ¹³Corg excursion and up to 37 wt % total organic carbon (%TOC). Orbital modulation of organic carbon burial primarily in the long eccentricity power band combined with a clear positive correlation between %TOC carbonate-free and the kaolinite/illite ratio supports peak organic carbon burial under the influence of very humid climate conditions, similar to the modern tropics. This reinterpretation of large-scale climate relationships, supported by independent modeling and geological data, has profound implications for atmospheric circulation patterns and processes affecting marine productivity and organic carbon burial further north along the Boreal Seaway, including the Arctic.


Armstrong, H. A., Wagner, T., Herringshaw, L. G., Farnsworth, A. J., Lunt, D. J., Harland, M., …Atar, E. F. (2016). Hadley circulation and precipitation changes controling black shale deposition in the Late Jurassic Boreal Seaway. Paleoceanography, 31(8), 1041-1053.

Acceptance Date Jul 5, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 3, 2016
Publication Date 2016-08
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 22, 2016
Journal Paleoceanography
Print ISSN 0883-8305
Electronic ISSN 1944-9186
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 8
Pages 1041-1053
Keywords Hadley cell circulation; Kimmeridge Clay; Black shale; Global climate
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Paleoceanography 2016, v.31 issue 8.


Published article (5.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
©2016. The Authors.<br /> <br /> This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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