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Reconstructing paleoatmospheric CO2 levels based on fossil Ginkgoites from the Upper Triassic and Middle Jurassic in Northwest China

Abstract

Fossil Ginkgophyta are one of the most widely used indicators for estimating the paleoatmospheric CO2 levels from the Triassic to present day. There are quite a few CO2 estimates for the Triassic to Jurassic interval; however, the data from China are still limited. In this study, two fossil Ginkgoites species, Ginkgoites magnifolius Du Toit and Ginkgoites obrutschewii (Seward) Seward, are described based on recent collections from the Upper Triassic and Middle Jurassic in Huating County, Gansu Province, Northwest China. The fossil leaf morphology and epidermal structure were studied and the stomatal parameters were analyzed for the reconstruction of paleoatmospheric CO2 concentrations. The paleoatmospheric CO2 concentration during the Late Triassic of China is estimated for the first time based on fossil material from Gansu. Our fossils yield paleo-CO2 values of 1962 ppmv in the Late Triassic and 1320 ppmv in the Middle Jurassic. Compared with previous estimates of atmospheric CO2 concentration based on stomatal parameter of fossil Ginkgo/Ginkgoites from Northwest China, the change of Jurassic paleo-CO2 levels accord with the trend of CO2 concentration proposed by GEOCARB III and Crustal Production models. The results demonstrate that the paleo-CO2 of the Late Triassic was higher than that of the Early to Middle Jurassic; but an increasing trend of paleo-CO2 could be detected from the Early to the Middle Jurassic. However, the GEOCARBSULF model indicates a decreasing trend during this interval. Therefore, the present data provide an independent check for the paleo-CO2 value estimation based on isotopic analysis.

Kurzfassung

Fossile Ginkgophyta gehören zu den am häufigsten verwendeten Indikatoren für paläoatmosphärische CO2-Konzentration von der Trias bis heute. Es gibt viele Berechnungen für die CO2-Konzentrationen im Zeitintervall von der Trias bis zum Jura, aber Daten aus China sind noch begrenzt. In vorliegender Studie werden zwei fossile Ginkgoites-Arten, Ginkgoites magnifolius Du Toit und Ginkgoites obrutschewii (Seward) Seward, anhand von neuesten Aufsammlungen aus der Oberen Trias und dem Mittleren Jura in Nordwest-China (Kreis Huating der Provinz Gansu) beschrieben. Die Blattmorphologie und Epidermalstruktur wurden untersucht und die stomatären Parameter analysiert, um die paläoatmosphärischen CO2-Konzentrationen zu rekonstruieren. Die paläoatmosphärischen CO2-Konzentrationen während der Oberen Trias von China wurden hiermit erstmalig anhand von Fossilmaterial aus Gansu berechnet. Unsere Fossilien liefern Paläo-CO2-Konzentrationen von 1962 ppmv in der Oberen Trias und 1320 ppmv im Mittleren Jura. Im Vergleich mit früheren Berechnungen basierend auf stomatären Parametern von fossilen Ginkgo/Ginkgoites-Vertretern aus Nordwest-China stimmen die Änderungen in der jurassischen Paläo-CO2-Konzentration mit dem durch GEOCARB III und Crustal Production-Modellen aufgestellten Trend der CO2-Konzentration überein. Die Ergebnisse zeigen eine höhere Paläo-CO2-Konzentration in der Oberen Trias als im Unteren und Mittleren Jura, jedoch wurde ein interessanter Trend der Paläo-CO2-Konzentration vom Unteren bis Mittleren Jura festgestellt. Ein GEOCARBSULF-Modell zeigt einen Rückgang in diesem Zeitintervall. Daher liefern die vorliegenden Daten eine unabhängige Kontrolle der Berechnungen der Paläo-CO2-Werte basierend auf Isotopenanalysen.

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Acknowledgments

We thank two reviewers and Dr. Mike Pole (University of Queensland, Australia/Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) for constructive suggestion and comments of the manuscript. This study was jointly supported by State Key Programme of Basic Research of Ministry of Science and Technology, China (973 Programme) (Grant No. 2012CB822003), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41572014, 41272010, 41302009, 41402008), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No. 2011M500960), the Innovation Project of CAS (Grant No. KZCX-2-YW-154), Team Program of Scientific Innovation and Interdisciplinary Cooperation of CAS, Natural Science Foundation of Gansu Province, China (Grant No. 1506RJZA210), and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. lzujbky-2015-131). This is a contribution to UNESCO-IUGS International Geoscience Program IGCP 632.

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Wu, Jy., Ding, St., Li, Qj. et al. Reconstructing paleoatmospheric CO2 levels based on fossil Ginkgoites from the Upper Triassic and Middle Jurassic in Northwest China. PalZ 90, 377–387 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-016-0300-1

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Keywords

  • Ginkgoites
  • Stomatal parameters
  • CO2 concentration
  • Jurassic
  • Triassic

Schlüsselwörter

  • Ginkgoites
  • Stomatäre Parameter
  • CO2-Konzentrationen
  • Jura
  • Trias