Molybdenum drawdown during Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2

Tatiana Goldberg*, Simon W. Poulton, Thomas Wagner, Sadat F. Kolonic, Mark Rehkaemper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
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During the Cretaceous greenhouse, episodes of widespread ocean deoxygenation were associated with globally occurring events of black shale deposition. Possibly the most pronounced of these oceanic anoxic events (OAE's) was the Cenomanian-Turonian OAE2 (similar to 94 Ma). However, although certain redox sensitive trace metals tend to be preferentially sequestered in sediments deposited under anoxic conditions, with Mo drawdown being specifically prone to euxinic settings, these elements are generally somewhat depleted in sediments deposited during OAE2. To understand the driving factors responsible for this depleted trace metal drawdown, we have studied a low latitude section from the proto-North Atlantic Ocean (Tarfaya S57), where existing biomarker and iron-sulphur data point to a dominantly euxinic water column, with periodic transitions to ferruginous (Fe-rich) water column conditions. We utilise a variety of redox proxies (Fe-speciation, redox sensitive trace metals and Mo isotopes), which, in combination, allows us to evaluate the detailed nature of ocean redox conditions and hence controls on trace metal drawdown. The results suggest that seawater delta Mo-98 values may have ranged between similar to 0.6 and 1.1 parts per thousand during OAE2, likely connected to changes in the local Mo reservoir as a consequence of low and probably heterogeneous concentrations of Mo in the ocean. The very low Mo/TOC ratios at Tarfaya and elsewhere in the proto-North Atlantic may support a model in which deep-water circulation was partially restricted within and between the North Atlantic and other ocean basins. We propose that the combination of a low and possibly heterogeneous delta Mo-98 of seawater Mo, together with low Mo/TOC ratios, points to a large decrease in the global oceanic Mo reservoir during OAE2, reflecting a major global scale increase in Mo drawdown under persistent euxinic conditions. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • molybdenum isotopes
  • delta Mo-98
  • OAE2
  • Cretaceous
  • proto-North Atlantic


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