Articles | Volume 17, issue 6
Clim. Past, 17, 2515–2536, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-2515-2021
Clim. Past, 17, 2515–2536, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-17-2515-2021
Research article
03 Dec 2021
Research article | 03 Dec 2021

Climate and ecology in the Rocky Mountain interior after the early Eocene Climatic Optimum

Rebekah A. Stein et al.

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Cited articles

Allen, S. E.: Fossil palm flowers from the Eocene of the Rocky Mountain region with affinities to Phoenix L. (Arecaceae: Coryphoideae), Int. J. Plant Sci., 176, 586–596, 2015. 
Allen, S. E.: Reconstructing the local vegetation and seasonality of the Lower Eocene Blue Rim site of southwestern Wyoming using fossil wood, Int. J. Plant Sci., 17, 689–714, 2017a. 
Allen, S. E.: The Uppermost Lower Eocene Blue Rim Flora from the Bridger Formation of Southwestern Wyoming: Floristic Composition, Paleoclimate, and Paleoecology, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Florida, 2017b. 
Allen, S. E., Stull, G. W., and Manchester, S. R.: Icacinaceae from the Eocene of western North America, Am. J. Bot., 102, 725–744, 2015. 
Anagnostou, E., John, E. H., Edgar, K. M., Foster, G. L., Ridgwell, A., Inglis, G. N., Pancost, R. D., Lunt, D. J., and Pearson, P. N.: Changing atmospheric CO2 concentration was the primary driver of early Cenozoic climate, Nature, 533, 380–384, 2016. 
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Short summary
Modern climate change drives us to look to the past to understand how well prior life adapted to warm periods. In the early Eocene, a warm period approximately 50 million years ago, southwestern Wyoming was covered by a giant lake. This lake and surrounding environments made for excellent preservation of ancient soils, plant fossils, and more. Using geochemical tools and plant fossils, we determine the region was a warm, wet forest and that elevated temperatures were maintained by volcanoes.