Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years

Date:
June 12, 2014
Source:
Royal Holloway, University of London
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a relationship between climate change and ocean currents over the past six million years after analyzing an area of the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, according to new research.

The research vessel JOIDES Resolution arriving Lisbon after the IODP Expedition 339.
Credit: Prof. F. Barriga

Scientists have discovered a relationship between climate change and ocean currents over the past six million years after analysing an area of the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, according to research published today (Friday, 13 June) in the journal Science.

An expedition of scientists, jointly led by Dr Javier Hernandez-Molina, from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway, University of London, examined core samples from the seabed off the coast of Spain and Portugal which provided proof of shifts of climate change over millions of years.

The team also discovered new evidence of a deep-earth tectonic pulse in the region, as well as thick layers of sand within mountains of mud in a vast sheet, spreading out nearly 100km into the Atlantic from the Gibraltar gateway. The quantity of sand is far more than was expected and has been caused by the strength, speed and long duration of bottom currents flowing through the Strait of Gibraltar from the Mediterranean.

"The sediments we examined show various shifts of climate change over millions of years," Dr Hernandez-Molina said. "In addition, our findings could herald a significant shift in future targets for oil and gas exploration in deep-water settings. The thickness, extent and properties of these sands make them an ideal target in places where they are buried deep enough to allow for the trapping of hydrocarbons. The sand is especially clean and well sorted and therefore very porous and permeable."

The expedition, carrying an international team of 35 scientists from 14 countries, recovered 5km of core samples from an area along the Gulf of Cadiz and west of Portugal.

The research found that a powerful cascade of Mediterranean water spilling into the Atlantic was scouring the rocky seafloor, carving deep-sea channels and building up mountains of mud. This is due to Mediterranean water being saltier than the Atlantic and therefore denser, causing it to plunge downwards.

Dr Hernandez-Molina added: "We set out to understand how the Strait of Gibraltar acted first as a barrier and then a gateway over the past six million years. The fascinating results we came back with have hugely increased our understanding of the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) that flows through the Gibraltar gateway and have led to some key discoveries about the relationship between climatic shifts, deep-water circulation and plate tectonic events over a huge timescale."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Holloway, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. F. J. Hernandez-Molina, D. A. V. Stow, C. A. Alvarez-Zarikian, G. Acton, A. Bahr, B. Balestra, E. Ducassou, R. Flood, J.-A. Flores, S. Furota, P. Grunert, D. Hodell, F. Jimenez-Espejo, J. K. Kim, L. Krissek, J. Kuroda, B. Li, E. Llave, J. Lofi, L. Lourens, M. Miller, F. Nanayama, N. Nishida, C. Richter, C. Roque, H. Pereira, M. F. Sanchez Goni, F. J. Sierro, A. D. Singh, C. Sloss, Y. Takashimizu, A. Tzanova, A. Voelker, T. Williams, C. Xuan. Onset of Mediterranean outflow into the North Atlantic. Science, 2014; 344 (6189): 1244 DOI: 10.1126/science.1251306

Cite This Page:

Royal Holloway, University of London. "Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142315.htm>.
Royal Holloway, University of London. (2014, June 12). Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142315.htm
Royal Holloway, University of London. "Scientists discover link between climate change and ocean currents over 6 million years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612142315.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins