Tiny magnetic particles in microscopic fossils record ancient weather conditions

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Tiny magnetic particles in microscopic fossils record ancient weather conditions

Research published in the journal Paleooceanography and Paleoclimatology In the article, researchers including University of Utah doctoral student Courtney Wagner and associate professor Peter Lippert reported on the climatic clues that can be found by analyzing magnetic fossil particles or magnetized fossils.

“We interpret the relative abundance of these different magnetized fossil populations based on shape and size, which is a function of bacterial species to encode environmental changes, which are used in other fossil data sets or geochemical substitutes It’s not obvious in the indicator,” Lippert said.

Using their FORC method (FORC stands for first-order reversal curve, a method of magnetic measurement and statistical description of magnetic features in rock or sediment samples), they learned from ancient coastal marine sediments Three different subsets of magnetized stones were singled out.

Tiny magnetic particles in microscopic fossils record ancient weather conditions(1)

Wagner said: “Each magnetic Fossil populations all tell us something different about the environment. “One is composed of “huge needle-like” magnetized fossils, which is related to the increase in iron and the expansion of the gradient between oxygenated and deoxygenated seawater. The other contains “equal length” magnetized fossils, which may have recorded more stable long-term conditions in the ocean, and the last contains “elongated” magnetized fossils, which may indicate seasonal conditions. ”

These results are important because they allow researchers to track the chemistry of the ocean during global warming events similar to the one that the Earth is currently experiencing. For example, the results seem to indicate that the oxygen on the coast of New Jersey was in ancient times. The warming event drops rapidly towards the beginning, and then the oxygen level fluctuates thereafter.

Wagner said: “All of this has potential implications for understanding how climate change will affect these sensitive coastal ecosystems today and in the future. . “