Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Dynamics of Carbon Release and Sequestration: Case Studies of Two Early Eocene Hyperthermals

Funded by the National Science Foundation

Work at Purdue has focused on coupled land-ocean carbon cycle feedbacks in response to global greenhouse warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.5 million years ago). Records from continental and shallow marine sediments at sites in Wyoming, Utah, New Jersey, New Zealand, and the Arctic Ocean have been analyzed and show significant climate-induced shifts in rates and mechanisms of organic carbon burial that may have acted to stabilize and ultimately led to recovery of the climate system after ~3,000 billion tons of carbon were rapidly released to the atmosphere. Importantly, many of the mechanisms identified as controlling carbon burial changes in the coastal ocean at this time involve changes in the flux and mineralogy of sediment from the continents, a flux which humans have intensely perturbed in the modern. The award has supported work by EAS postdoc Aya Schneider-Mor and three Purdue undergraduate students.


  • Gabe Bowen, EAS
  • A. Winguth, University of Wisconsin
  • H. Stoll, Williams College
  • J. Zachos, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • K. Farley, California Institute of Technology
  • M. Pagani, Yale University
  • R. Zeebe, University of Hawaii
  • T. Bralower, The Penn State University

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907