Paul Minton

Paul Minton

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Paul Minton

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Start Year

2016 (Cohort 3)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

Late Middle Miocene climatic and biotic evolution: a high resolution record from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Site U1338

Research Theme

Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Processes

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The Miocene epoch spans a period of Earth’s history from ~23 – 5.3 Ma. During the Miocene, the climate changed from relatively warm to today’s cooler conditions. The middle of this period was characterised by a long warm interval (~15 – 17 Ma), followed by a significant cooling step (at ~14.2 Ma), and then a prolonged period of more gradual cooling leading to the establishment of permanent ice sheets in the Northern hemisphere. This period of gradual cooling is not as well studied as the more distinctive warm interval and rapid cooling steps, however, understanding how, and why, the climate system changed during slow cooling is as important as understanding more dramatic change. A marine sedimentary core (U1338) from the eastern Equatorial Pacific, recovered by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, will be studied to provide a high-resolution (~3,000 yr interval) record of 3.5 Myrs of this cooling period from ~13.3 Ma – 9.8 Ma. Planktonic foraminifera will be used for geochemical analyses, astronomical tuning and to study the evolutionary response to prolonged change. The resulting record will enable comparison with other regional and global records, allow mechanisms leading to change to be inferred, and providing data to support climate models.

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