Title: Evaluating the effect of autogenic sedimentation on the preservation of climate proxy records: modeling and examples from the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum Authors: Sheila Trampush, Liz Hajek Abstract: The stratigraphic record provides a vital opportunity to investigate how changes in climate can impact many different landscapes and seascapes. However, the inherent variability in sedimentation within many depositional environments may mask or remove the signature of climate change. A common solution is to use geochemical proxies – usually collected at regular stratigraphic intervals – to independently identify climate events. This approach doesn’t account for the potentially significant variability in deposition and erosion time series resulting from autogenic landscape dynamics. In order to explore how geochemical proxy records could be overprinted by landscape dynamics, we use a 1D stochastic sedimentation model where we mimic fluvial, lacustrine, shallow marine, and deep marine environmental dynamics by varying the frequency-magnitude distributions of sedimentation rates. We find that even conservative estimates of the frequency and magnitude of stochastic sedimentation variability can heavily modify proxy records in characteristic ways by alternately removing, compressing, and expanding portions of the record, regardless of the magnitude or duration of the climatic event. Our model results are consistent with observations of the carbon isotope excursions of the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) preserved within both fluvial (e.g. the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming and the Piceance Basin, Colorado) and shallow marine (e.g. the New Jersey shelf) deposits. Our results suggest that we may be able to use existing geochemical proxy records within well studied, global climatic events, such as the PETM, to constrain the variability in sedimentation present within different depositional environments.
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