Astronomical time scale of the Turonian constrained by multiple paleoclimate proxies

Chao Ma, Mingsong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


One of the clocks that record the Earth history is (quasi-) periodic astronomical cycles. These cycles influence the climate that can be ultimately stored in sedimentary rocks. By cracking these (quasi-) periodic sedimentation signals, high resolution astronomical time scale (ATS) can be obtained. Paleoclimate proxies are widely used to extract astronomical cycles. However different proxies may respond differently to astronomical signals and non-astronomical noises including tectonics, diagenesis, and measurement error among others. Astronomical time scale constructed based on a single proxy where its signal-to-noise ratio is low may have uncertainty that is difficult to evaluate but can be revealed by utilizing other proxies. Here, we test eight astronomical age models using two astrochronological methods from four paleoclimate proxies (i.e., color reflection L* and b*, natural gamma radiation, and bulk density) from the Turonian to the Coniacian of the Cretaceous Period at the Demerara Rise in the equatorial Atlantic. The two astrochronological methods are time calibration using long eccentricity bandpass filtering (E1 bandpass) and tracking the long eccentricity from evolutive harmonic analysis (tracking EHA). The statistical mean and standard deviation of four age models from the four proxies are calculated to construct one integrated age model with age uncertainty in each method. Results demonstrate that extracting astronomical signals from multiple paleoclimate proxies is a valid method to estimate age model uncertainties. Anchored at the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary with an age of 93.9 ​± ​0.15 ​Ma from biostratigraphy, the ages for CC11/CC12 (calcareous nannofossil zones), Turonian/Coniacian (CC12/CC13), CC13/CC14, and Coniacian/Santonian boundaries are 91.25 ​± ​0.20 ​Ma, 89.87 ​± ​0.20 ​Ma, 86.36 ​± ​0.33 ​Ma, and 86.03 ​± ​0.32 ​Ma in E1 bandpass method, compared with 91.17 ​± ​0.36 ​Ma, 89.74 ​± ​0.38 ​Ma, 86.13 ​± ​1.31 ​Ma, and 85.80 ​± ​1.33 ​Ma respectively in tracking EHA method. These results are consistent with previous studies within error and provide a reliable estimation of uncertainties of the ages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1352
Number of pages8
JournalGeoscience Frontiers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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