University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > BPI Seminar Series > The Existence and Significance of Deeply Buried Landscapes

The Existence and Significance of Deeply Buried Landscapes

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Sedimentary basins in the North Atlantic Ocean preserve a record of intermittent uplift during Cenozoic times. These variations in elevation are thought to result from temperature changes within the underlying Icelandic mantle plume. When parts of the European continental shelf were episodically lifted above sea level, new landscapes were carved by erosion, but these landscapes then subsided and were buried beneath marine sediments. Here, we use three-dimensional seismic data to reconstruct one of these ancient landscapes that formed off the northwest coast of Europe during the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. We identify a drainage network within the landscape and, by modelling the profiles of individual rivers within this network, we reconstruct the history of surface uplift. We show that the landscape was lifted above sea level in a series of three discrete steps of 200–400m each. After about 1 million years of subaerial exposure, this landscape was reburied. We use the magnitude and duration of uplift to constrain the temperature and velocity of a mantle-plume anomaly that drove landscape formation. We conclude that pulses of hot, chemically depleted, mantle material spread out radially beneath the lithospheric plate at velocities of 35 cm/yr.

This talk is part of the BPI Seminar Series series.

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