Julie Lebreton-Anberrée; Shihu Li Email author ; Shu-Feng Li; et al.
The Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum (MMCO; ~15–17 Ma) was one of the short-term climatic warm events that punctuated the Cenozoic long-term cooling trend. Because there are very few terrestrial records of this event, most of our understanding comes from marine cores. In this report, we first present new palaeomagnetic data that revises the dating of our 400 m-thick lacustrine section in Wenshan (Yunnan), previously thought to be Late Miocene. These new data suggest an older age, ca. 15.2–16.5 Ma, coinciding with the MMCO. We measured δ13C on bulk organic matter (δ13Corg), total organic carbon (TOC), total nitrogen (TN) and C/N ratios at a high sample resolution to: (1) reconstruct the palaeoenvironmental changes in the lake catchment area, and (2) infer mechanisms responsible for these changes. Our results show that all four geochemical parameters demonstrate that a strong environmental change occurred around the middle of the section, shortly after the C5Cn/C5Br geomagnetic reversal and the Early/Middle Miocene boundary at 15.97 Ma. We propose that the environmental shift may be due to a combination of a change in climate, which became cooler, together with a change in organic matter cycling within the lake. This study provides a new insight into the MMCO and demonstrates that although the MMCO was generally a warm event, it was also a time of climatic instability and abrupt environmental changes.
（来源：Science Bulletin, 2016, 61(11): 897-910）