Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Clim. Past, 8, 337–351, 2012
Clim. Past, 8, 337–351, 2012

Research article 27 Feb 2012

Research article | 27 Feb 2012

Precessional and half-precessional climate forcing of Mid-Devonian monsoon-like dynamics

D. De Vleeschouwer1, A. C. Da Silva2, F. Boulvain2, M. Crucifix3, and P. Claeys1 D. De Vleeschouwer et al.
  • 1Earth System Sciences and Department of Geology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
  • 2Pétrologie sédimentaire, B20, Université de Liège, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium
  • 3Centre de recherche sur la Terre et le climat Georges Lemaître, Earth and Life Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Abstract. A Devonian magnetic susceptibility (MS) record obtained on limestones ranging from the Uppermost-Eifelian to the Lower-Givetian and located on the southern border of the Dinant Synclinorium in Belgium was selected for time-series analysis. In these carbonate ramp and platform deposits, spectral analyses highlight persistent, high-frequency cycles in both the MS-signal and the microfacies curve, reflecting environmental and climate changes. These metre-scale variations in the MS-signal are interpreted as changes in the flux of magnetic minerals towards the marine system, most likely controlled by monsoon rainfall-intensity. By combining chrono- and biostratigraphic information with theoretical knowledge of sedimentation rates in different depositional environments, these cycles are interpreted as astronomically driven and dominated by precession. It is hypothesized that during precession minima (longitude of the perihelion ≈270°) the trans-equatorial pressure gradient reaches a maximum and intensifies the northeasterly monsoonal circulation. The consequent increase in moisture transport towards the continent leads to enhanced precipitation and runoff, which, in turn, induces a higher flux of detrital material – including magnetic minerals responsible for the MS-signal – towards the marine system. Moreover, this unique high-resolution climate signal reveals half-precessional cycles. These cycles suggest that during precession maxima (longitude of the perihelion ≈90°) southeasterly monsoonal circulation strengthened due to an increased inter-hemispheric pressure gradient.