Peleoclimate and Geobiology Research Group

Annually-resolved high-latitude climates during the Paleocene/Eocene derived from exceptionally preserved wood

We are currently exploiting the recent finding of exceptionally well-preserved wood in volcanoclastic deposits associated with early Paleogene kimberlite pipes (55.1 Ma) in the Northwest Territories, Canada, to explore climate variability during a period of extreme warmth around 55 Ma that has been compared to present-day global warming. Rapid emplacement of kimberlite bodies resulted in the nearly instantaneous burial and exceptional preservation of a high-latitude wooded ecosystem. Several slabs of tree remains available to us clearly demonstrate over 100 years of a tree-ring growth record preserved in individual specimens. We will be applying dendrochronological and geochemical techniques in order to provide an annually resolved snapshot of the climate 53-55 million years before present.
Cross section of a slice of fossil wood showing a complete sequence from the bark to the core of the tree. Drill-camera view of the micromill apparatus with a sample on the stage.

Design © Anshu, 2007