Down the Rabbit Hole: toward appropriate discussion of methane release from gas hydrate systems during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum and other past hyperthermal events
2011 (English)In: Climate of the Past Discussions, ISSN 1814-9340, Vol. 7, no 3, 831-846 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Enormous amounts of (13)C-depleted carbon rapidly entered the exogenic carbon cycle during the onset of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), as attested to by a prominent negative carbon isotope (delta(13)C) excursion and deep-sea carbonate dissolution. A widely cited explanation for this carbon input has been thermal dissociation of gas hydrate on continental slopes, followed by release of CH(4) from the seafloor and its subsequent oxidation to CO(2) in the ocean or atmosphere. Increasingly, papers have argued against this mechanism, but without fully considering existing ideas and available data. Moreover, other explanations have been presented as plausible alternatives, even though they conflict with geological observations, they raise major conceptual problems, or both. Methane release from gas hydrates remains a congruous explanation for the delta(13)C excursion across the PETM, although it requires an unconventional framework for global carbon and sulfur cycling, and it lacks proof. These issues are addressed here in the hope that they will prompt appropriate discussions regarding the extraordinary carbon injection at the start of the PETM and during other events in Earth's history.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 7, no 3, 831-846 p.
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66833DOI: 10.5194/cp-7-831-2011ISI: 000295356800010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-66833DiVA: diva2:469826
authorCount :12011-12-272011-12-212013-01-21Bibliographically approved