Assessing Volcanic Controls on Miocene Climate Change

Jack Longman*, Benjamin J.W. Mills, Yannick Donnadieu, Yves Goddéris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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The Miocene period saw substantially warmer Earth surface temperatures than today, particularly during a period of global warming called the Mid Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO; ∼17–15 Ma). However, the long-term drivers of Miocene climate remain poorly understood. By using a new continuous climate-biogeochemical model (SCION), we can investigate the interaction between volcanism, climate and biogeochemical cycles through the Miocene. We identify high tectonic CO2 degassing rates and further emissions associated with the emplacement of the Columbia River Basalt Group as the primary driver of the background warmth and the MMCO respectively. We also find that enhanced weathering of the basaltic terrane and input of explosive volcanic ash to the oceans are not sufficient to drive the immediate cooling following the MMCO and suggest that another mechanism, perhaps the change in ocean chemistry due to massive evaporite deposition, was responsible.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL096519
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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