Middle Cretaceous greenhouse hydrologic cycle of North America

Tim White, Luis González, G. Ludvigson, Chris Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


We present a paleolatitudinal precipitation reconstruction for the greenhouse setting of mid-latitude North America based on the oxygen isotopic composition of sphaerosiderites found in middle Cretaceous wetland paleosols. Our reconstructed middle Cretaceous δ18O values of precipitation are ≄% less than values from comparable modern low-elevation coastal settings free of monsoons. The data fit a conceptual model in which the precipitation source for the eastern margin of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway of North America is an 18O-enriched oceanic coastal jet. In this subtropical-tropical setting, mid-Cretaceous precipitation rates are interpreted to range from ∼2500 to ∼4100 mm/yr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-366
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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