Westerhold, T, Röhl, U., McKarren, H.K., Zachos, J.C. (2009), Latest on the absolute age of the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM): New insights from exact stratigraphic position of key ash layers +19 and −17, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 287, 412–419, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2009.08.027.


We constructed a precise early Eocene orbital cyclostratigraphy for DSDP Site 550 (Leg 80, Goban Spur, North Atlantic) utilizing precession related cycles as represented in a high-resolution X-ray fluorescence based barium core log. Based on counting of those cycles, we constrain the exact timing of two volcanic ash layers in Site 550 which correlate to ashes +19 and 17 of the Fur Formation in Denmark. The ashes, relative to the onset of the PaleoceneEocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), are offset by 862 kyr and 672 kyr, respectively. When combined with published absolute ages for ash 17, the absolute age for the onset of the PETM is consistent with astronomically calibrated ages. Using the current absolute age of 28.02 Ma for the Fish Canyon Tuff (FCT) standard for calibrating the absolute age of ash 17 is consistent with tuning option 2 in the astronomically calibrated Paleocene time scale of Westerhold et al. (2008) [Westerhold, T., Röhl, U., Raffi, I., Fornaciari, E., Monechi, S., Reale, V., Bowles, J., and Evans, H.F., 2008, Astronomical calibration of the Paleocene time: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 257, p. 377403]. Using the recently recalibrated absolute age of 28.201 Ma for the FCT standard is consistent with tuning option 3 in the astronomically calibrated Paleocene time scale. The new results do not support the existence of any additional 405-kyr cycle in the early Paleocene astronomically tuned time scale.

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