Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology

The Deep Dust project continues!

In 2019, the EGU SSP blog reported from a workshop exploring Paleozoic dust.

By now, the Deep Dust initiative is supported by the International Continental Scientific Drilling program, which is an important step. It is planned to drill in the US in a first project phase.

The Deep Dust Drilling Project (DEEP DUST) is focused on understanding paleoclimatic conditions, biospheric responses and climate forcings at low latitudes throughout the Permian (299-252 Ma). This time interval experienced major tectonic changes linked with the assembly of the Pangaea supercontinent, including the formation and weathering of the Central Equatorial Pangaean Mountains, and widespread volcanic activity (Soreghan et al., 2020). Moreover, Earth’s penultimate global icehouse peaked in the earliest Permian, collapsed soon thereafter, and transitioned to greenhouse conditions by the late Permian, ultimately culminating in Earth’s largest-known extinction. This interval captures Earth’s only example of icehouse termination under conditions of a complex terrestrial biosphere. The climatic, biotic, and tectonic events of the Permian are amongst the most intense in Earth history.

The DEEP DUST project seeks to illuminate the evolution of Earth’s environmental conditions and biosphere through the whole Permian, especially in the tropics. We hope to obtain sediments allowing analysis of temporal scales ranging from sub-millennial to Milankovitch and beyond by acquiring cores in continental lowlands preserving stratigraphically complete records dominated by both loess and lacustrine strata. A first drilling target is located in the U.S. (Anadarko Basin, Oklahoma), representing the western Pangaean tropics, perhaps the highest-resolution continental Permian section (Fig. 1).

Soreghan G.S., Beccaletto L., Benison K.C., Bourquin S., Hamamura N., Hamilton M., Heavens N.G., Hinnov L., Huttenlocker A., Looy C., Pfeifer L.S., Pochat S., Sardar Abadi M., Zambito J. (2020) Report on ICDP Deep Dust workshops: Probing Continental Climate of the Late Paleozoic Icehouse-Greenhouse Transition and Beyond. Scientific Drilling., 28, 93–112,

Christian Zeeden is a (cyclo)stratigrapher and geophysical sedimentologist at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG, Hannover, Germany). His research includes sedimentology and stratigraphy of aeolian terrestrial deposits as palaeoclimate and geoarchaeological archives. He applies and advances cyclostratigraphy as part of an integrated stratigraphical approach. His research includes geological time series analysis and statistical programming, and focuses on terrestrial sediments and recorded climate cycles both as stratigraphical information as well as palaeoclimatic archive.

Lynn Soreghan obtained her BS in geology (UCLA), and PhD in geosciences (U Arizona) and has served on the faculty in geosciences at the University of Oklahoma since 1996. She studies sediments and sedimentary rocks as a means to shed light on Earth’s climate, especially in deep time. She focuses on topics related to atmospheric dust and loess, rock weathering, and glaciation.

Sylvie Bourquin is CNRS research director at Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118 of the CNRS, at the University of Rennes (France). She is a sedimentologist and stratigraphist and her research activity is mainly focused on continental environments and more particularly on those from the late Carboniferous to the Late Triassic. The objective is to discriminate the impact of tectonics and climate in the preservation of continental successions and to perform paleogeographic reconstructions at different time and space scales.

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