Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-59
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-59

  31 May 2021

31 May 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Miocene high elevation and high relief in the Central Alps

Emilija Krsnik1,2, Katharina Methner1,5, Marion Campani1, Svetlana Botsyun3, Sebastian G. Mutz3, Todd A. Ehlers3, Oliver Kempf4, Jens Fiebig2, Fritz Schlunegger6, and Andreas Mulch1,2 Emilija Krsnik et al.
  • 1Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (SBiK-F), Frankfurt (Main), 60325, Germany
  • 2Institute of Geosciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt (Main), 60438, Germany
  • 3Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  • 4Federal Office of Topography swisstopo, Geologische Landesaufnahme, Wabern, 3084, Switzerland
  • 5Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University, CA 94305, USA
  • 6Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland

Abstract. Reconstructing Oligocene-Miocene paleoelevation contributes to our understanding of the evolutionary history of the European Alps and sheds light on geodynamic and Earth’s surface processes involved in the development of Alpine topography. Despite being one of the most intensively explored mountain ranges worldwide, constraints on the elevation history of the European Alps, however, remain scarce. Here we present stable and clumped isotope geochemistry measurements to provide a new paleoelevation estimate for the mid-Miocene (~14.5 Ma) European Central Alps. We apply stable isotope δ-δ paleoaltimetry on near sea level pedogenic carbonate oxygen isotope (δ18O) records from the Northern Alpine Foreland Basin (Swiss Molasse Basin) and high-Alpine phyllosilicate hydrogen isotope (δD) records from the Simplon Fault Zone (Swiss Alps). We further explore Miocene paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental conditions in the Swiss Molasse Basin through carbonate stable (δ18O, δ13C) and clumped (Δ47) isotope data from three foreland basin sections in different alluvial megafan settings (proximal, mid-fan, and distal). Combined pedogenic carbonate δ18O values and Δ47 temperatures (30 ± 5 °C) yield a near sea level precipitation δ18Ow value of −5.8 ± 0.2 ‰ and in conjunction with the high-Alpine phyllosilicate δD record suggest that the region surrounding the SFZ attained surface elevations of > 4000 m no later than the mid-Miocene. Our near sea level δ18Ow estimate is supported by paleoclimate (iGCM Echam5-wiso) modeled δ18O values, which vary between −4.2 and −7.6 ‰ for the Northern Alpine Foreland Basin.

Emilija Krsnik et al.

Status: open (until 19 Jul 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Emilija Krsnik et al.

Emilija Krsnik et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 247 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
198 45 4 247 11 5 2
  • HTML: 198
  • PDF: 45
  • XML: 4
  • Total: 247
  • Supplement: 11
  • BibTeX: 5
  • EndNote: 2
Views and downloads (calculated since 31 May 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 31 May 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 231 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 231 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 15 Jun 2021
Download
Short summary
Here we present new surface elevation constraints for the Middle Miocene Central Alps based on stable and clumped isotope geochemical analyses. Our reconstructed paleoelevation estimate is supported by isotope-enabled paleoclimate simulations and indicates that the Miocene Central Alps were characterized by a heterogeneous, and spatially transient topography with high elevations locally exceeding 4000 m.