Fran Meyer L&S Sciences
Tempo of Cooling through the Middle Ordovician Using 18Ophosphate from Conodont Elements
The paleoclimate of the Ordovician period (485 to 444 million years ago) is of particular interest to geologists and paleontologists because of a great biodiversification event followed by a mass extinction associated with a global glaciation. To answer why there was such a drastic change in climate, we must first understand when these trends began. While it is well-established that the beginning of the period was characterized by a warm climate and the end of the period by a major glaciation, the trajectory of cooling is poorly known. For this project, I will be adding constraints to the 18O curve for the Middle Ordovician. By using 18Ophosphate from conodont elements in Ordovician limestones, I will interpret trends in seawater temperature at the time. By focusing on the Middle Ordovician, I will provide a better understanding of how the climate changed throughout the period which is essential for evaluating hypotheses of what caused the glaciation.