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During International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 392, three sites were drilled on the Agulhas Plateau and one site was drilled in the Transkei Basin in the Southwest Indian Ocean. This region was positioned at paleolatitudes of ~53°–61°S during the Late Cretaceous (van Hinsbergen et al., 2015) (100–66 Ma) and within the new and evolving gateway between the South Atlantic, Southern Ocean, and southern Indian Ocean basins. Recovery of basement rocks and sedimentary sequences from the Agulhas Plateau sites and a thick sedimentary sequence in the Transkei Basin provides a wealth of new data to (1) determine the nature and origin of the Agulhas Plateau; (2) significantly advance the understanding of how Cretaceous temperatures, ocean circulation, and sedimentation patterns evolved as CO2 levels rose and fell and the breakup of Gondwana progressed; (3) document long-term paleoceanographic variability through the Late Cretaceous and Paleogene; and (4) investigate geochemical interactions between igneous rocks, sediments, and pore waters through the life cycle of a large igneous province (LIP). Importantly, postcruise analysis of Expedition 392 drill cores will allow testing of competing hypotheses concerning Agulhas Plateau LIP formation and the role of deep ocean circulation changes through southern gateways in controlling Late Cretaceous–early Paleogene climatemore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
The long-term climate transition from the Cretaceous greenhouse to the late Paleogene icehouse provides an opportunity to study changes in Earth system dynamics associated with large changes in global temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels. Elevated CO2 levels during the mid-Cretaceous supergreenhouse interval (~95–80 Ma) resulted in low meridional temperature gradients, and oceanic deposition during this time was punctuated by widespread episodes of severe anoxia termed oceanic anoxic events, resulting in enhanced burial of organic carbon in conjunction with transient carbon isotope and temperature excursions. The prolonged interval of mid-Cretaceous warmth and subsequent Late Cretaceous–Paleogene climate trends, as well as intervening short-lived climate excursions, are poorly documented in the southern high latitudes. International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 392 aims to drill five sites in the southwest Indian Ocean on the Agulhas Plateau and in the Transkei Basin, positioned at paleolatitudes of 65°–58°S during the Late Cretaceous (100–66 Ma) and in the new and evolving gateway between the South Atlantic, Southern Ocean, and southern Indian Ocean basins. Recovery of basement rocks and expanded sedimentary sequences from the Agulhas Plateau and Transkei Basin will provide a wealth of new data to (i) determine the nature and origin of the Agulhas Plateau andmore »